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Spirit in SessionSpirit in Session

Working with Your Client’s Spirituality (and Your Own) in Psychotherapy

Russell Siler Jones

Narrated by Kevin McIldoon

Available from Audible

Book published by Templeton Press

Spirituality is an important part of many clients’ lives. It can be a resource for stabilization, healing, and growth. It can also be the cause of struggle and even harm. More and more therapists—those who consider themselves spiritual and those who do not—recognize the value of addressing spirituality in therapy and increasing their skill for engaging it ethically and effectively.

In this immensely practical book, Russell Siler Jones helps therapists feel more competent and confident about having spiritual conversations with clients. With a refreshing, down-to-earth style, he describes how to recognize the diverse explicit and implicit ways spirituality can appear in psychotherapy, how to assess the impact spirituality is having on clients, how to make interventions to maximize its healthy impact and lessen its unhealthy impact, and how therapists can draw upon their own spirituality in ethical and skillful ways. He includes extended case studies and clinical dialogue so readers can hear how spirituality becomes part of case conceptualization and what spiritual conversation actually sounds like in psychotherapy.

Jones has been a therapist for nearly 30 years and has trained therapists in the use of spirituality for over a decade. He writes about a complex topic with an elegant simplicity and provides how-to advice in a way that encourages therapists to find their own way to apply it.

Spirit in Session is a pragmatic guide that therapists will turn to again and again as they engage their clients in one of the most meaningful and consequential dimensions of human experience.

Russell Siler Jones is director of the Residency in Psychotherapy and Spirituality at CareNet/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Asheville, North Carolina. A therapist for over 25 years, he has also worked as a case manager with chronically mentally ill adults, a pastor, and a hospital chaplain.


“A real gem! Remarkably accessible, this book makes the spiritual dimension of therapy come alive. Jones is a masterful educator and clinician who skillfully leads the reader through the meanings and methods of spiritually integrated psychotherapy. His wisdom, warmth, humor, openness, faithfulness, and humanity fairly radiate from each page. This book will be savored by newcomers and seasoned mental health providers alike regardless of their own religious and spiritual orientations.”

—Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD, professor of psychology, Bowling Green State University, author of Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred

“Spirituality is one of the most important topics for most psychotherapy clients and yet it is one of the most awkward topics for therapists to bring up and discuss. In this beautifully written book, Russell Siler Jones offers practical advice to therapists on virtually every aspect of bringing spiritual discussions into their offices.”

—Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, founding developer of the Internal Family Systems model of psychotherapy

“This eminently readable, compelling, and inspiring book takes readers—heart, mind, and soul—into what actually happens in spiritually oriented therapy conversations. Russell Jones is a compassionate, committed, and elegantly simple mentor for therapists who want to help clients draw upon their spirituality in life-giving ways. Spirit in Session deserves to be a required textbook in every 'Intro to Therapy' course.”

—Carrie Doehring, PhD, professor of pastoral care and counseling, Iliff School of Theology, author of The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach

Spirit in Session is an outstanding handbook for teaching. Russell Jones’s exceptional mastery of both psychotherapy and spiritual inquiry guides therapists and their clients to discover spiritual encounters within the everydayness of routine psychotherapy sessions. Therapists may be surprised to learn that they need only their accustomed repertoire of interview skills, not a degree in theology or special techniques or religious-talk, in order to help clients find fresh meaning and new directions through spiritual inquiry.”

—James L. Griffith, MD, Leon M. Yochelson Professor and Chair, GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences, author Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms

“I had no time for another book endorsement so intended to say no, but then I opened the first page of Russell Siler Jones’s book and couldn’t stop reading. Spirit in Session is a creative, warm, clinically-relevant look at how spirituality can inform the life and work of a psychotherapist.”

—Mark R McMinn PhD, professor and director of faith integration, Graduate School of Clinical Psychology, George Fox University, author of The Science of Virtue

“What makes Spirit in Session so distinctive and laudable is Jones’s consideration of the therapist’s own spirituality and spiritual countertransference, and how these can be ethically and effectively utilized in therapy. He does this in a conversational, relational, and humorous style that beginning and seasoned therapists alike will relish. This book also manages to be spiritually evocative without feeling prescriptive or heavy-handed. Reading it was like taking a psychospiritual retreat.”

—Rev. Jill L. Snodgrass, PhD, associate professor, Department of Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Care, Loyola College of Arts and Sciences, co-editor of Understanding Pastoral Counseling

“I loved reading Russell Jones’ wonderful book, Spirit in Session….I felt like I was having a conversation with a kind and wise friend who was sharing his experiences and wisdom in a warm and generous way.…I recommend the book for all psychotherapists, but especially those who wish to gain more insight into how to honor in sensitive and competent ways the resources of their clients’ spirituality.”

—P. Scott Richards, PhD, past president of APA’s Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, co-author of A Spiritual Strategy for Counseling and Psychotherapy

“If you’ve been yearning for some clues on how to ethically, responsibly, and effectively weave spirituality into your psychotherapeutic practice, consider this a trail guide and Russell Siler Jones as your traveling companion. Written in his erudite but down-to-earth voice, this book will help you feel more confident treading around this hot-button subject matter….Furthermore, for anyone whose professional work involves addressing the spiritual needs of clients or patients—from board certified chaplains to other healthcare providers who wish to feel more confident in their conversations about meaning, purpose, and quality of life (in a word, spirituality)—this book is a great resource.”

—Rev. Amy Greene, DMin, director of spiritual care, Cleveland Clinic

“The book is perfect for professionals and students alike who are interested in being more mindful and embracing of spirituality, broadly defined, in counseling activities with diverse clients. I am grateful for it and will happily encourage others to read it.”

—Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor, Santa Clara University, adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, author of Spiri

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks