Use of Religious Resources in Psychotherapy from a Tradition-Sensitive Approach: Cases from Chinese in Malaysia

Submitted by James Miller on Sat, 02/09/2013 - 13:16
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TitleUse of Religious Resources in Psychotherapy from a Tradition-Sensitive Approach: Cases from Chinese in Malaysia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsTing, R. S., & Ng A. L. O.
JournalPastoral Psychology
Volume61
Issue5
Pagination941-957
ISBN Number0031-2789
KeywordsAsians, Chinese, Clinical psychology, Cross Cultural Psychology, general, Malaysia, PSYCHOLOGY, psychotherapy, Religion, Religion &amp, Religious Studies, Sociology, spirituality
Abstract

This paper highlights the integration of spiritual and religious approaches in psychotherapy using the three major religions (Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity) of the Chinese community in Malaysia (CIM) as an example. The authors explore the underlying therapeutic dimensions that exist among CIM. The distinctive practices of religion among CIM include: 1) the blending of religion, folklore, and superstitious practices; 2) loyalty to the religious tradition of one’s family; and 3) common belief in a spiritual reality. Due to the particularity of religiosity within this population, the authors propose a tradition-sensitive approach to integrative therapy and religion. Lastly, four clinical cases are discussed to demonstrate an integrative approach in therapy sessions. The themes that emerge from the cases are viewed as a dynamic process, including 1) exploration of the client’s religious beliefs and beliefs concerning the spiritual realm, 2) affirming the client’s religious resources and social duties, 3) returning to the client’s basic religious teachings and rituals, 4) expanding religious support from the client’s family and community, and 5) personal growth and healing in the client’s relationships. In the conclusion, both the benefits and potential weaknesses of this approach are discussed in order to address the complexity of such an endeavour in an Asian setting.