Where Does Spirituality Come Into Play?

4 Jul

So, I live in the Bible Belt, and it’s not uncommon to see the entire GA State Patrol staked out in front of various Churches on Sunday morning, as the entire State population pours into their services.

It’s also not uncommon for spirituality to come up in many of my sessions. In therapy, a client’s spirituality is all fodder for more discussion, as it can mold a family’s belief system–and a family’s culture.

prayingHowever, things get a little tricky when I put on my mediation cap. What happens if one side wants to pray before a mediation but the other side doesn’t? Does spirituality tilt a mediator’s bias one way or another–especially if the mediator has a religious background?

In my opinion, if both sides agree that religion or spirituality should be part of the mediation, then, so be it. I can certainly imagine a scenario in which a divorcing couple, for example, would want to keep their children in a parochial school or make sure their children attend the same Church they’ve been attending.

If both parties are on the same page, seems all would be well. I suppose the complication comes into play when one party invokes religion or spirituality in order to “one up” the other party in the eyes of the mediator. And, of course, it would be the mediator’s job to understand that that’s what’s going on–and, to have enough insight to either ignore or address the implications. Bottom line–it would be important to be aware that one party may be using religion or spirituality to sway the mediator.

Whether you live in the Bible Belt or not–parties will often use any means to give themselves an advantage at the mediation table. So, be aware–and be smart enough–to know what’s going on.


P.S. Wishing all of our readers a Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July

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