Content from this blog is related to the article:
Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., Grubbs, J. B., & Yali, A. M. (2014). The Religious and Spiritual Struggles Scale: Development and initial validation. Psychology Of Religion And Spirituality, 6(3), 208-222. doi:10.1037/a0036465
Client anger is often expressed in counseling and we all approach this content according to our training and theoretical orientation.
I thought this article was very helpful in describing how anger toward G-d (written thusly out of consideration for Jewish readers) can result in negative outcomes for the client. In short, these researchers found that this type of anger was "linked with emotional distress, particularly when such anger was frequent or unresolved" (p. 146).
The question then becomes - How do we provide an environment for clients who want to talk about this anger?
Also of interest might be: How much of that anger is also being directed toward the self? And, how much of that anger is impacting the diagnosis and treatment plan?
Accessing emotional content is something we are equipped to do as counselors. Regardless of our theoretical orientation, we are always interested in helping the client to express thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in session with hope for change.
Let's remember to conduct a religious/spiritual assessment that is more than a checkbox for: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Other. Our beliefs and values are so much more nuanced and require time to gain perspective that may include anger.