Counselling Books and Articles: Spiritual Aspects

Some counsellors and psychotherapists (and their clients) find an important link between therapy and spirituality.

Spiritual Aspects of Counselling

Baba, M. (1987) Discourses, 7th revised edition. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Press. [Amazon UK-paperback | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]

Meher Baba (1894-1969) claimed to be God. Silent for 44 years, from 1925 until his death in 1969, he attracted an estimated 100,000 followers in India and many more around the world, and some colleagues in the UK have suggested he provides a useful spiritual framework for counselling. Whether or not his group of followers should be considered a cult, a religious sect or whatever, the book carries a profoundly positive message.

Julian of Norwich (1998) Revelations of Divine Love. Translated by E. Shearing. London: Penguin Books. [Amazon UK | Amazon US]

This translation of both the long and short texts of the revelations of Julian (1342-after 1416), although at times heavy going and repetitious, may offer more insight into Julian than the shorter and more accessible alternatives that contain less of the actual material. (See, for instance, Upjohn (1989).)

Lao Tsu (1989) Tao Te Ching. Translated by Gia-fu Feng and J. English. New York: Vintage Books. [Amazon UK-'library binding' | Amazon US-'library binding' | Amazon US-paperback]

This slim little paperback, originally published in 1972 but with a sensitive new introduction by Jacob Needleman in this edition, has been my favourite way of actually reading the Tao Te Ching since the late 80s. Lin Yutang's (1948) translation is another excellent resource for scholarly purposes, and it is widely cited both for the quality of its translation and for the interspersed commentary by Chuang Tse, but this translation feels close and personal to me. Note that a great deal has been written about the Tao Te Ching and everything from Jungian psychology (and synchronicity in particular) to quantum mechanics; reading the Tao Te Ching first may help one to evaluate for onself which of these many volumes make useful connections or provide a worthwhile synthesis.

Lin Yutang (1948) The Wisdom of Laotse. New York: Random House. [Amazon US]

This beautiful translation also includes extensive commentary by Chuang Tse, interspersed with the text of the Tao Te Ching itself. For a plain and simple paperback translation, that from Gia-fu Feng and Jane English (1989) is hard to beat. [Note that depending on the Chinese transliteration employed, Lao Tse may be rendered as Lao Tzu, Lao Tsu, or in various hyphenated or one-word versions such as Lao-tzu and Laotse.]

Thorne, B. (1994) 'Developing a Spiritual Discipline', in Mearns (1994a), pp. 44-47.

This short contribution expresses eloquently Thorne's commitment to a daily discipline of self-examination and self-acceptance. It is simple and to-the-point and well worth reading.

Upjohn, S. (1989) In Search of Julian of Norwich. London: Darton, Longman and Todd. [Amazon UK]

This brief book is the story of the mid-fourteenth century anchoress of St. Julian's Church in Norwich, England, who seemingly wrote the first book by a woman in English. Both Julian's book of spiritual revelations and her life as a positive and patient listener -- the first 'counsellor', perhaps -- occupy Upjohn's book. There is much of interest here, whatever one's own take on the Christian spiritual tradition. See Julian (1998) for the original work.

   

This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Tuesday, 7 April 2015.

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