Spirituality and therapeutic action.

This article presents the viewpoint that spirituality, as reflected in various traditions from around the world, suggests an alternative perspective on how one overcomes suffering and moves toward having a happy life. This viewpoint is drawn from lived experiences of the author, a clinical psychologist steeped in Eastern spiritual traditions who integrates his meditation practice and spiritual perspective with his practice of psychodynamic, object relations, existential, humanistic, and cognitive—behavioral approaches to working with clients. Many current therapeutic methods are utilizing and incorporating mindfulness (Harris, 2009; Kurtz, 2007; Linehan, 1993; Ogden, Minton, & Pain, 2006; Wallin, 2015), the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of which have been empirically studied and supported (Davis & Hayes, 2011; Fraser, 2013). However, various meditative traditions diverge radically from the empirical perspective in how they understand cause and effect and the process of growth and change. The author suggests that spirituality speaks directly to clinical problems and recommends the inclusion of the associated mysterious, powerful, and joyful healing experiences in our understanding of therapeutic process. The author presents several clinical and personal spiritual experiences. He discusses their therapeutic benefit and the difficulty in pinning down the mechanism of action in such instances, suggesting that activities in the spiritual realm may be apparent and experienceable while also remaining unknowable or incomprehensible in certain ways. His viewpoint is that such phenomena should not be ignored or undervalued in mainstream psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)