Spiritual Struggle and the Big Four Religious Dimensions: Heuristic Study of an Art Therapy Spirituality Protocol

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Bachmeier, Wendy
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Spirituality and religion can play an important part in an individual’s mental health, either positively or negatively. While a majority of Americans adhere to some form of religious belief and may desire to address spiritual issues in therapy, this area is often neglected by clinicians. An art therapy assessment of religious beliefs and tensions contributing to mental health difficulties may provide art therapists a way to address these issues more effectively. The big four religious dimensions of believing, bonding, behaving, and belonging give a framework for understanding religious functioning. Through a heuristic self-study, this researcher investigated her experience of spiritual struggle using the religious dimensions art therapy assessment. The protocol offered a “snapshot” perspective of the researcher’s cognitive and relational difficulties related to spiritual struggles. A model of the progression of chronic spiritual struggles was developed from the researcher’s self-study experience as well.