Religion and cultural sensitivity in Counselling and Therapy course for the caring professions


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Working creatively and confidently with your clients’ beliefs

A course with: Gwen Griffith-Dickson
CPD Certificate (6 hours)

What you will gain from the day:

  • Insight into the commonalities between all strongly-held beliefs
  • An outline of the world’s main religious beliefs and how they differ and what they have in common
  • Increased understanding of the psychological impacts firmly held beliefs can have on an individual and those around them
  • How to know if it’s necessary to approach the topic of religion, or a person’s particular worldview, in therapeutic or educational settings
  • How to employ RIGAAR™ in this context
  • How strongly held beliefs, of any sort, can affect a person’s behaviour, the way they see themselves and the expectations they have about therapy
  • Religion and counselling: dealing with your own reactions – how to position yourself to your clients’ faith
  • An understanding of psychology’s complex relationship with religion
  • Discussion of the difference between religious practice and cult behaviour
  • Understanding the positive and negative impacts of clients’ beliefs
    or practices
  • How to keep cool when faced with extreme religious or any other dogma
    in a patient or student
  • Tips for conducting difficult conversations with your client – from how to frame questions to the traps to avoid
  • Why strongly held beliefs become so powerful in a person’s life
  • Religion as a resource in therapy and counselling: a treasure-house of images and symbols that can be used therapeutically – we give you lots of tips and techniques to use
  • A greater understanding of the significance of truth in your clients' lives
  • Can a lack of faith ever be a problem?
  • Greater understanding of the role of religion and other forms of belief in the formation of character and ethics
  • Why the HG approach to ethics in relation to religion is so important – and how it can help you
  • The importance of religion in counselling: how to work sensitively with your clients' religious beliefs
  • Religion as the great storyteller: stories that heal and enlighten,
    and how to use them
  • Course notes, CPD Certificate and more...

Why this course is important

An individual’s beliefs can be an incredibly a sensitive and emotive issue, so it’s important for anyone working with distressed people – including therapists, counsellors, medical and welfare professionals – to understand the benefits, as well as the pitfalls of firmly held beliefs, and to be aware of the key differing religious tenets: what someone might believe as a result of adhering to a particular religion. There are at least 6 reasons for this:

  • Tolerance of, and interest in, a client’s religious beliefs builds rapport
  • Any belief system can be used as a resource for therapeutic change
  • Religion satisfies many peoples’ innate need for meaning and purpose
  • You can easily upset a client if you make wrong or foolish assumptions about their beliefs
  • Strong emotions often surround firmly-held beliefs – regrettably some people are prepared to die, or kill, for their religion
  • The contrast between strongly held religious beliefs and the modern secular world contributes to raising stress levels in sensitive individuals, particularly among some immigrant communities.

This course on working sensitively with religion in therapy, with Gwen Griffith-Dickson (a leading theological and social cohesion expert who sat on the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life and holds the Human Givens Diploma), will give you a wealth of useful knowledge around religion and counselling.

It will increase your understanding, help maximise your effectiveness and give you plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discuss cases with an extremely knowledgeable tutor.

Who should attend?

  • Psychotherapists and counsellors
  • Teachers, lecturers and other education professionals
  • Police and legal professionals where religion is an issue
  • HR Managers, occupational health professionals and volunteers working with the public
  • Anyone with a personal interest in the topic


Course Programme

The ‘Working creatively and confidently with your clients' beliefs’ course starts at 9.30am and runs until 4.00pm.

The day's programme

Registration: 8.30am to 9.30am (Tea or coffee served until 9.25am)

9.30am – What religion is and does

  • What is religious sensitivity?
  • Why religion is so loved and hated
  • The common elements involved in all strongly-held beliefs
  • Understanding psychology’s complex relationship with religion
  • Overview of common themes in the world’s religions
  • Understanding the many dimensions of religious belief, practice and belonging
  • ‘Spiritual, not religious’, ‘believing without belonging’: spirituality outside religion

11.00am – Discussion over tea/coffee

11.30am – The positives and negatives of strongly-held beliefs

  • How religion and other beliefs can meet many needs (or none)
  • Understanding the positive and negative impacts of clients’ beliefs or practices
  • The Utilisation Principle: deploying your clients’ beliefs in pursuit of their goals
  • Dealing with your own reactions; how to position yourself to your clients’ faith
  • Dealing with dogmatism and authoritarian impulses in religious beliefs
  • Can lack of ‘faith’ ever be a problem?
  • Can or should you encourage clients to modify their religious stances?

1.00pm – Lunch (included)

1.45pm – Meaning, value and transcendence

  • Religion and other forms of belief in the formation of character and ethics
  • The benefits for mental wellbeing in taking action and faith as an inspiration
  • The place of ‘transcendence’ or something greater than oneself
  • The importance of meaning and purpose in a well-lived life
  • Valuing the significance of truth in your clients’ lives

2.45pm – Discussion over tea/coffee

3.00pm – Stories, symbols and metaphors

  • Religion as resource: a treasure-house of images and symbols in the aid of therapy
  • Religion as the great storyteller: stories that heal and enlighten, and how to use them
  • Closing thoughts and discussion

4.00pm — Day ends


No dates are available for booking at this time