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God and Addiction, Yes. God and Mental Illness, No? Poll.

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Should discussions of God and spirituality be a part of psychotherapy as they are for addiction treatment? If you are familiar with 12-step programs or other addiction treatment programs, you know that discussions about God/Higher Power take place with regularity and are integral to treatment.

It’s too late for us to appear unbiased. C.R. and my series God in Therapy discusses various aspects of spirituality in therapy and we have received a lot of strong feedback (and more strong feedback) – most of it positive and some of it angry! We fully acknowledge our belief that this aspect of a person’s development is crucial to living a meaningful life.

However, we also feel that proselytizing is definitely not the way to go. The idea isn’t to tell a patient what to believe–it’s to get him or her thinking about an aspect of human life in order to explore his own life further.

Last night I gave a class at NYU on clinical practice and Motivational Interviewing to an extraordinarily bright group of social work students. (If this is the future of social work–we are in good shape!)

After class, some students wanted to speak to me about spirituality in practice. I find this frequently when I lecture, whether or not this is the topic du jour.

When I meet with patients, God and spirituality are almost always topics they bring to the table.

What do you think?

God and Addiction, Yes. God and Mental Illness, No? Poll.

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2010). God and Addiction, Yes. God and Mental Illness, No? Poll.. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 Nov 2010
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