Spirituality and career counselling

By Pelagia Bhebhe


Spirituality can be a unique and often powerful component of an individual’s life, it may relate to the career development process. Spirituality is not considered as important in counselling, yet it plays an integral part in ones’ identity.

It is important for counsellors to ask their clients if they are spiritual or not, if they are spiritual there is need to explore how this component of their life relates to their career process.

It is important to do so as spirituality has a connection with client’s career in the sense that it has influence on career-related interests and values and it can act as a motivator to career choice.

Therefore by addressing these connections, counselors may have a deeper understanding of a client’s identity and also normalize the notion that spirituality may be important in career-related tasks.

Indeed, career counseling today is an ideal dynamic process; through which counselors help clients explore not only their interests, skills, and values, but also their familial influence, work-family conflict, and supports and barriers.

Without understanding the full scope of factors that may influence a client’s career, including spirituality, counselors may be missing information that could be critical to helping clients make decisions and cope with the world of work.

For college students in the process of making career decisions and especially for working adults dealing with career-related stress, having a strong support network can be critical.

Typically, counselors have been encouraged to investigate and draw on the support a client receives from friends, family, and significant others.

These support networks typically provide safety nets to fall back on during stressful times and are sources of advice and guidance.

However, the support individuals may receive through their spirituality has received minimal attention from researchers, and no studies have examined how spiritual support relates to the career development process.

So spiritual support can be explored in career counseling through  recommended that counselors ask clients if they are spiritual and then encourage them to explain what spirituality means to them. As stated previously, spirituality will likely mean something unique to each individual client and can range from a relationship with a higher power or powers to a belief in a general life force. If a client is spiritual, counselors are encouraged to explore if and to what extent he or she derives support from his or her spirituality. For some clients, this support may come from connecting with a higher being, perhaps in the form of prayer or mediation. For others, support may come from connecting with other individuals in their spiritual community who may share similar beliefs and value systems. Regardless of the exact mechanism through which support is received, spiritual support can be powerful, especially for individuals who view their spirituality as a principal component of their self-concept. Without raising the question of the extent of a client’s spirituality, counselors may be overlooking an important piece of the client’s overall support network.


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