Spirituality is a broad term with many definitions. It is often associated with a belief in God, religion or a specific religion, but it can also refer to non-religious practices like meditation, yoga, and the expansion of consciousness. It can include rituals, service, and other activities that people do to develop feelings of connection with others, nature, self and a sense of meaning.
Some people define spirituality as the ability to have a deep and personal relationship with God or a higher power. Others think of it as a desire to feel inspired, revered or awed. It can also refer to a need for purpose and meaning in life, especially at times of emotional stress, physical illness, loss or death.
Researchers have identified two broad components of spirituality. One is an individual’s inner, personal relationship with a higher power, including self-scrutiny, examining the meaning of life, hope, self-actualization, moral virtues, peace, and balance. The other involves a person’s relationship with the natural world and includes a sense of responsibility, respect for the environment, love, forgiveness, pacifism, and knowledge and attitude about the universe.
A growing number of professionals are incorporating spirituality into their work with clients. Some are using a spiritual framework to guide their clinical practice, while others have begun to incorporate spiritual practices into their own daily lives (e.g., prayer, heart meditation, spending time in nature). However, most commonly used comprehensive practice textbooks devote only a few pages to the topic.