Spiritual counselors are finding a following for their blend of self-help and generic spirituality, much to the consternation of clergy and psychotherapists.
Newsday (May 26) reports that an increasing number of people are paying high fees to “receive guidance from self-proclaimed spiritual advisers, medical intuitives or psychics. These unusual counselors say they are able to guide people to the right path in life without regard to their personal history, unlike the traditional psychologist.” The unregulated nature of such counseling — with practitioners claiming no recognized training — is alarming clergy and mental health professionals and social workers, as they claim that intuition alone could leave serious mental problems untreated.
Intuitive spiritual counselors deny that they are doing any psychological work with their clients, and claim that their use of intuition adds a missing dimension to most forms of therapy. Other practitioners says they do not accept cases if they sense clients have serious emotional problems. Charles Simpkinson, a specialist in the psychotherapy-spirituality field, traces the spiritual counseling movement to Norman Vincent Peale and his book, “The Power of Positive Thinking.”
Intuitive counselors often stress finding “clarity” in the face of bewildering situations and experiences. The generic quality of such counseling could be seen in the way that intuition is raised to a spiritual value in itself. One counselor advises her client to let go a little and let things happen . . . “the universe will bring you what you need if you’re open and receptive.”