Mental health professionals in the 21st century are more and more likely to encounter clients who desire the integration of spirituality into their therapeutic care. Indeed, our ethical obligation to demonstrate cultural competence extends into the arena of spirituality. While contemporary training programs are increasingly adept at preparing students to navigate spiritual topics, many otherwise well-trained clinicians seek guidance in appreciating broad spiritual traditions and integrating spirituality competently. Furthermore, for students and seasoned therapists alike, there exists a dearth of clinical, supervisory, and consultative opportunities to grapple with this ethereal subject using concrete strategies. This presentation will provide an overview of approaches for the conceptualization, assessment, and integration of spirituality into mental health and wellness care. Through a combination of didactic material, case studies, and experiential exercises, participants will learn integrative practices that can be applied in clinical settings.
Tonya Armstrong, Ph.D., M.T.S.,a licensed psychologist, is the founder and CEO of The Armstrong Center for Hope, a private group practice of multi-disciplinary mental health professionals cultivating psychological and spiritual wellness for all ages. She has produced scholarship in the areas of spirituality, African-American mental health, end-of-life care, and grief. Currently, she serves as the Dean of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program at the Apex School of Theology in Durham, NC and has served for the last 15 years as the Minister of Congregational Care and Counseling at Union Baptist Church in Durham, NC, where she helps oversee Stephen Ministry, grief support groups, and counseling and psychotherapy practice by licensed mental health professionals. Her previous experience includes serving as Pastoral Theologian at the Institute on Care at the End of Life at Duke Divinity School, as well as clinical and consulting experience in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Throughout her work, Dr. Armstrong seeks the faithful integration of theology and mental health care.
UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Lecture Series