Therapy With the Nonreligious: Ethical and Clinical Considerations

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Current estimates suggest anywhere from 16% to 23% of American adults and 33% of adults under the age of 30 identify as nonreligious. Many people experience spiritual struggles and may seek counseling when deciding to leave the religion of their family of origin. The current state of nonreligiousness in America suggests psychologists may see an increase in clients who experience spiritual struggles and could be deciding to leave their family religion. Psychologists may not feel prepared to work with such clients, or actively avoid religious discussions. Being prepared to work with nonreligious clients and the unique issues they bring to treatment calls for a practical evaluation of ethical and clinical considerations. Demographic trends suggest nonreligiousness is a topic that will only become more relevant to psychology, and beginning an exploration now will greatly contribute to the profession at an opportune time.

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