Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Rosemary McCaslin


This study examined the beliefs about religion and spirituality among substance abuse counselors. The data was gathered using an explorative qualitative design by interviewing substance abuse counselors in the field and asking questions related to the religion, spirituality, and the influence on their practice. This research highlighted the impact of substance abuse as a spiritual disease that affects the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the client’s life. The key findings were related to the responses from the participants because it highlighted the importance of meeting the client where they are (motivational congruence), tolerance, acceptance, and the impact of agency policies. The second key finding is the substance counselor’s beliefs have no bearing in their practice because they operate under the philosophy of motivational congruence which is meeting the client where they are. Even though they have personal beliefs they are able to implement the professional use of self-focusing more on the client’s needs as opposed to theirs. The implication for future research is the contribution to extant literature by emphasizing the importance of religious or spiritual practices in the recovery process.

Included in

Counseling Commons