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UMB, USMx: Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health

Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health is designed to train mental health providers in basic spiritual and religious competencies. Experience greater confidence and competence dealing with religious/spiritual issues. Eligible for 6 CE credits.

5 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Cost to Enroll
$89 USD

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Apr 12

About this course

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Are you a mental health provider who wants to more effectively work with the increasing spiritual and religious diversity in your clients? Do you know how to help clients who encounter spiritual and religious distress? Or how to harness clients’ spiritual resources to support positive therapeutic outcomes? If so, this course is for you!

Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health is a program designed to train mental health providers in basic spiritual and religious competencies. Taught by instructors who are experts in the field of religion/spirituality and mental health, this course will equip providers with greater confidence and competence helping clients with religious and spiritual issues. The program focuses on core spiritual competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) that underlie effective mental health care and are common to mental health disciplines and therapeutic orientations. Basic competency in spiritual and religious issues in mental health is an ethical requirement for most professional boards and associations related to mental health clinical practice. Yet, few of us received this training in our graduate programs. This program bridges the current training gap.

The program consists of eight modules and takes about six to eight hours to complete. The modules consist of engaging learning activities, such as watching brief videos, reading text screens, listening to audio clips, and completing short reflection questions and knowledge check questions.

Mental health professionals (MD, PhD, Master’s level, and trainees) of all disciplines are welcome to participate. Therapists who complete the program will be eligible for 6 CE credits.

At a glance

  • Institutions:


  • Subject: Medicine
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:

    Completed or currently enrolled in a professional graduate program for mental health (e.g., Master’s, PhD, MD, or trainee).

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Mental Health, Clinical Practices

What you'll learn

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  • How to integrate spirituality and religion into clinical practice
  • Common stereotypes about religion/spirituality (RS)
  • The diversity of RS expressions (e.g., spiritual/religious beliefs, practices, and experiences)
  • Why it is important to address RS in treatment
  • The importance of the therapist’s own RS attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • How to assess RS in clinical practice
  • How to help clients access RS resources
  • How to respond to RS problems that arise in treatment.

Module 1: Introduction and Orientation

We’ll begin by answering the question, "What is spiritually integrated mental health care?" Then, we’ll learn important reasons for integrating spirituality into therapy. We’ll conclude by exploring what's involved in putting spiritually integrated therapy into practice.

Module 2: Understanding Spirituality

We distinguish between spirituality and religion. We then survey the core beliefs and practices of major religious traditions to explain individual differences in spirituality. We’ll also learn about key spiritual developmental processes and forces that shape spiritual development.

Module 3: Guiding Principles for Spiritually Integrated Mental Health Care

We will learn about inappropriate therapist orientations that should be avoided. Then, we’ll look at approaches to establish an effective orientation to spiritually competent care. Finally, we focus on the influence of therapists' spiritual orientation and biases.

Module 4: Questions to Distinguish Spiritual Experiences from Psychopathology

We begin by discussing spiritual beliefs and practices that facilitate psychological/emotional well-being. Then, we explore forms of spirituality that conversely can contribute to a problem. We also examine types of spiritual problems and their interplay with mental illness.

Module 5: Assessing Spirituality in Mental Health Care

We’ll be introduced to the concept of spiritual assessment. We will provide language for you to use in your assessments with clients and also explore a four-step model of spiritual assessment.

Module 6: Mobilizing Spiritual Resources

We’ll review the general guidelines for integrating spiritual resources in mental health care. Then, we explain how you can cultivate and mobilize spiritual resources in therapy and provide some examples to illustrate these processes.

Module 7: Addressing Spiritual Problems

We will identify common mistakes we make when attempting to address clients' spiritual problems. We learn about five different ways that therapists can address spiritual problems. Finally, we summarize the most challenging aspects of spiritually integrated mental health care.

Module 8: Putting it All Together, Challenges, and Future Directions

We will explore the five key ethical challenges and questions that can come up when conducting spiritually integrated therapy. You will have the opportunity to synthesize and apply your knowledge from all eight modules by completing a comprehensive case study.

Learner testimonials

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“This training has definitely increased my comfort level in integrating spiritualty and religion more often with the clients that I see. In addition, it has increased my therapeutic confidence in knowing where to go when this presents as a piece of a client’s identity and/or the presenting concern.”

-Previous Participant

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does this program qualify for continuing education (CE) credits?

Yes! Upon completion of this program, you will be eligible for 6 CE credits. This program is co-sponsored by the Maryland Psychological Association and the Maryland Psychological Association Foundation. The Maryland Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Maryland Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content. It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their professional licensing board to see if these CE credits are applicable in his or her jurisdiction.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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