Editor’s note: You may have been redirected to this post from an earlier version that was originally published in 2014 and was updated and republished in 2017.
Addiction can be devastating on many levels, affecting not just the physical body, but also causing psychological wounds. The reverse is also true: Emotional and psychological burdens are often what lead people into substance abuse in the first place. The ultimate cure for addiction is to heal the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Medical treatment heals the body, therapy helps the mind, and the benefits of spiritual counseling help soothe the soul.
Even if you are not religious, you will benefit from some form of inner healing as you go through addiction treatment. For some people, spiritual practices simply involve mindfulness and meditation. Some find yoga to be emotionally and spiritually soothing. Others may find inner peace while working out or doing simple tasks like gardening. However, spiritual counseling allows for a more deliberate and thorough spiritual healing.
What is Spiritual Counseling?
Spiritual counseling is a type of therapy where a counselor offers guidance or advice based on spiritual principles. It may be based on the tenets of a particular religion or a more broadly defined set of spiritual ideas. Adhering to a religion is not a prerequisite for benefiting from spiritual counseling.
Spiritual counseling encourages one to examine deeply held beliefs and commit – or recommit – to values that are important to that individual. Even those with little interest in spirituality still benefit from asking themselves honest questions and learning to be more mindful of their behaviors.
The ultimate goal is to assist the recovering addict in finding meaning in life, a source of comfort and power during difficult times, and a set of moral guidelines that the individual can use to guide decision-making in any circumstance.
Important Differences Between Spirituality and Religion
Both religion and spirituality address beliefs about the nature of the universe and our place in it. However, religions also have specific sets of beliefs regarding how creation came about, particular moral codes, and set rituals and observances.
Spirituality is an umbrella term that encompasses all religions as well as independent beliefs regarding a transcendental search for meaning. It addresses big questions such as:
- What is the nature of existence?
- What is my place in it?
- What values can I live by to ensure my happiness in this lifetime (and beyond)?
While spiritual counseling is an obvious choice for those who adhere to a particular religion, even those who prefer a more open-ended approach to the big questions in life can benefit from looking at addiction recovery from a spiritual perspective. These people can still partake in the benefits of spiritual counseling.
A few central spiritual tenants that are nearly universal, regardless of religion, are:
- You are already whole. You don’t need to be fixed, just nurtured back to full health.
- There’s a bigger picture, and your place in it matters.
- You don’t have to face life alone, you can receive support from a higher power.
The Benefits of Spiritual Healing and Counseling for Addiction Treatment
Advocates of spiritual counseling often believe that the connection between an individual and a higher power can offer an array of life benefits. It can help a person achieve and grow in ways that they may have previously believed impossible.
Spiritual counseling helps those in recovery accomplish goals by reinforcing the idea that there is a force greater than themselves. Recognizing this often leads a person to understand that they may be more successful if they partner with that force instead of believing that they must carry all of their troubles and stresses on their own.
What’s Involved in Spiritual Counseling Programs?
If you choose to participate in the benefits of spiritual counseling at The Dunes, you can expect to be treated with respect in regards to your beliefs and values. We do not believe in shaming people into behaving morally, but rather challenge each of our clients to look within themselves with complete honesty to find the spiritual answers they seek.
Practices and ideas we cultivate in our spiritual guidance include:
- Mindfulness – The practice of “staying in the moment”
- The power of acceptance
- The cultivation of gratitude
- Taking responsibility for one’s emotions and associated actions
- Discovery of a higher power
- The futility of a life run entirely on self-will
- Beginning a practice of prayer
Something for Everyone at The Dunes
Addressing spiritual questions can help set the foundation for emotional, mental, and physical healing during addiction recovery.
While spiritual counseling is entirely optional, we encourage all our residents to try it and see how it can help. You can trust that we will respect your beliefs and pay careful attention to your individual needs.
When you choose The Dunes East Hampton for your substance abuse recovery, our team meets with you during intake to determine the custom treatment plan that is best for you and your situation, and part of that process includes evaluating the potential benefits our spiritual counseling program may have for you.
While there are many benefits of spiritual counseling and it can fit into any treatment plan, it is entirely optional. Our staff respects all belief systems, including those who do not believe in any higher power.
At The Dunes, we know there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for substance abuse, which is why we customize each resident’s treatment according to their lifestyle, needs, and goals for recovery. During your time at our campus in the Hamptons, you can expect comprehensive drug addiction treatment in a luxury rehab center with various amenities and counseling options at your disposal.