With growing recognition on the importance of religious and spiritual concerns in mental health practice, empirical research into spiritually integrated practice has begun to increase. However, to date, the body of research undertaken in this emerging field has been largely conducted from a Christian perspective. This study aimed to expand the scope of such research by exploring the beliefs and spiritual orientation towards mental health practice by a cohort of mental health providers who are self-identified members of the Bahá’í Faith, one of the lesser-known but fast growing religions in the world today. Utilizing online survey research, this first convenience sample study of Bahá’í mental health practitioners responded to open-ended questions that described how their spiritual beliefs influence their practice. This paper describes a thematic analysis of the Bahá’í practitioners’ spiritual orientation toward professional practice. The themes that emerged include: (a) a client as a spiritual being, (b) a belief in a universal approach to mental practice, (c) a practice based on standard and spiritual interventions, (d) practitioners’ perception of this world and the afterlife, and (e) person’s work as highest value. Implications for mental health and the role of spirituality will be discussed.
|Keywords:||Bahá’í Faith, Mental Health, Spiritual Beliefs, Thematic Analysis, Spiritually Integrated Practice|
Assistant Professor of Social Work, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway, USA