Christian Clients’ Preferences Regarding Prayer As a Counseling Intervention (Report)

Spirituality has increasingly become a consideration for mental health practitioners. As a result, spiritual interventions, including prayer, are now more frequently used in counseling. However, no research has explored Christian clients’ expectations regarding prayer in counseling. This study surveyed first-visit Christian clients and their therapists to ascertain client expectations and therapist beliefs and practices. Analysis with two sample t-tests with unequal variances, one-way analysis of variance, simple linear regression, Pearson correlations, and Fisher’s exact tests indicated that (a) 82% of clients desired audible prayer in counseling; (b) they preferred that therapists introduce the subject of prayer; (c) they had strong expectations that prayer would be included in counseling; (d) they wanted counselors to pray for them outside of session; (e) religious conservatives had higher expectations for prayer than did liberals; (f) clients with prior Christian counseling had higher expectations of prayer than did clients without. Research implications are discussed. **********

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