What are indicators of possible spiritual/religious issues?

Your client is a 25-year-old ethnic minority individual who is attempting to become sober for the third time. The two recovery periods have been 1 to 3 months in length in the past year; relapses coincide with traditional Judeo-Christian religious holidays (i.e., Christmas, Easter). Your client struggles with feelings of isolation from his ethnic group because of his use: He specifically reports that a previous Christian church he attended called him a sinner because of his alcohol and drug use and told him he would not have a problem with alcohol and drugs if he only “got right with God? He does not feel like he belongs with AA either, because he struggles with the spiritual aspect of the program. He tells you he wants to stay sober, but he does not think there is much hope for him.

1. Upon hearing this description, are you aware of any possible countertransference issues that could arise based on the thoughts and feelings you have after hearing his story?

2. How would you approach such issues so they do not contaminate your counseling (i.e., consultation with colleagues, supervisors, mentors)?

3. What are indicators of possible spiritual/religious issues?

4. Where would you begin to explore any spiritual/religious issues he may be having in terms of his recovery?

5. How would you help him develop a community of support for his addiction recovery based on his spiritual issues?

6. Would his ethnicity be a contributing factor to how you would approach any issues with countertransference, spirituality/religion, or community support?

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