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9:00 am - Relational Spirituality in Psychotherapy hosted by Samaritan Counseling


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November 15, 2019, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Relational Spirituality in Psychotherapy: Healing Suffering and Promoting Growth

Psychotherapy research finds that most clients consider spirituality, religion, and/or existential meaning important to their treatment. Spiritual and existential struggles tell a story about clients’ lives that goes beyond specific mental health symptoms. Yet most counselors and therapists receive, at best, minimal training on how to engage religion and spirituality in theoretically-coherent ways. This workshop will present the Relational Spirituality Model (RSM) of psychotherapy through clinical applications from a forthcoming book with the American Psychological Association. This inclusive approach frames spirituality through a relational development lens focused on three developmental systems – attachment, differentiation, and intersubjectivity. Therapeutic change will be described as a multi-faceted, crucible-like process of balancing spiritual dwelling and seeking, while highlighting the reality that suffering and trauma are always existential. A clinical case study will be used to consider RSM clinical strategies for engaging diverse client perspectives and utilizing an innovative framework for integrating relational perspectives on psychotherapy, training, research, and therapist well-being and formation.

Participants will be able to:

    • Learning Objective #1: Apply the relational spirituality model (RSM) to clinical practice.
    • Learning Objective #2: Analyze key connections between spirituality, human development, and relational trauma.
    • Learning Objective #3: Assess key spiritual and religious diversity dynamics in psychotherapy.
    • Learning Objective #4: Describe multiple relational intervention strategies within this RSM framework.


Steven J. Sandage, M.Div., Ph.D., LP, is the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Psychology of Religion with appointments in the School of Theology and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He is Research Director and Senior Staff Psychologist at the Danielsen Institute and also Visiting Faculty in Psychology of Religion at MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo. He has co-authored/co-edited seven books, including a forthcoming book – Relational Spirituality in Psychotherapy: Healing Suffering and Promoting Growth with the American Psychological Association (APA). He does research in the psychology of religion and spirituality, positive psychology (forgiveness, humility), intercultural competence and social justice, psychotherapy processes and outcome, personality disorders, and clinical training. His research has been funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Fetzer Institute, and the John Templeton Foundation. Sandage practices as a Licensed Psychologist with clinical specializations that include couple and family therapy, multicultural therapy, and spiritually-integrative therapy. APA produced a clinical demonstration video of Sandage doing couple therapy.

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November 15, 2019
9:00 am - 1:00 pm


First Reformed Church of Scotia
224 N. Ballston Avenue
Scotia, NY 12302 United States
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