Relational Spirituality, Social Justice, and Cultural Humility in Clinical Practice

  • Dates: Friday October 14, 2022 - 10 am EST; end time 4:00 pm EST (Eastern Time)
  • Instructors: Steven J. Sandage, Ph.D., LP, Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D.
  • Location: Live on Zoom (Find the time for your location)
  • Credits: 5 CEs


The topics of spirituality and religion are typically not included in training of mental health professionals. However, spiritual and religious beliefs and practices and questions concerning spirituality and existential issues are important aspects of psychological well-being across the globe. We believe that increased access to training concerning spiritual, religious, and existential issues will benefit people seeking mental health services or people who are interested in better understanding the connection between spirituality and mental health.

We will be reviewing empirical research concerning spirituality and religion and mental health, presenting the relational spirituality framework for engaging in these issues in psychotherapy, and integrate spirituality and religion with culturally informed psychotherapy.

Although once marginalized, spirituality and religion (S/R) have now become established areas of ethical and clinical consideration in practice. All mental health fields recognize that S/R are important dimensions of human diversity that can impact clients’ health and well-being, yet many clinicians and supervisors are uncertain how to effectively engage these dynamics in psychotherapy. This workshop will use lecture, group discussion, and case applications to offer a relational approach to S/R dynamics in clinical practice with sensitivity to intersectional diversity and social justice considerations. We will apply recent research on S/R competence, cultural humility, and S/R microaggressions among practitioners and supervisors to a clinical case vignette. Key clinical strategies within a relational spirituality model (RSM; Sandage et al., 2020) of psychotherapy will also be utilized to highlight S/R and other diversity considerations in the treatment process. These strategies build upon the therapeutic alliance and include assessing S/R dynamics interacting with (a) three relational development systems (attachment, differentiation, intersubjectivity) and (b) client worldviews with respect to suffering, trauma, well-being, and treatment preferences. We will also consider resources to further professional growth in this area of diversity competence/humility.

In this workshop, we will integrate spirituality and religion as key elements of culturally informed systemic formulation and psychotherapy. Specifically, we will explore the therapist’s own spiritual and religious background and experiences, including assumptions and biases, as they intersect with those of the client. Additionally, it is important to consider the unique ways in which religion and spirituality is experienced within cultural groups and across generations within a family or community. As such, we will explore the transformation of spirituality and religious beliefs and practices in the context of migration, trauma, and acculturation.


Steven J. Sandage, Ph.D., LP, is the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Psychology of Religion and Theology with appointments in the School of Theology and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He is also Research Director and Senior Staff Psychologist at the Danielsen Institute and also Visiting Faculty in Psychology of Religion at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society in Oslo. His recent books with the American Psychological Association (APA) include: Forgiveness and Spirituality in Psychotherapy; Relational Spirituality in Psychotherapy; and Spiritual Diversity in Psychotherapy. Sandage does research in psychotherapy processes and outcome, positive psychology, psychology of religion, intercultural competence and social justice, psychopathology, clergy formation and well-being, and clinical training. His research has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the Peale Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, and the Fetzer Institute. He also practices as a Licensed Psychologist at the Danielsen Institute with clinical specializations that include couple and family therapy, multicultural therapy, and spiritually-integrative therapy. In 2017, the APA published a clinical demonstration video of Sandage providing couple therapy. Sandage has published extensively on the topics in this workshop and has presented at a variety of conferences and continuing education events, including the APA convention, the Society of Psychotherapy Research, the World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry, the Religion, Values, and Society Research Institute (Oslo), and the American Group Psychotherapy Association.

Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Community-Based Education at the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Institute and Research Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Her research and scholarship focus on immigration, trauma, race, and culturally-informed psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Her publications include over 90 peer-reviewed articles and chapters in books. She is also in Independent Practice, and works primarily with survivors of trauma from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. Dr. Tummala-Narra serves on the Holmes Commission on Racial Equality of the American Psychoanalytic Association and on the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 45 (Society for Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) as Diversity-Immigration Member-at-Large. She is an Associate Editor of the Asian American Journal of Psychology, Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Senior Psychotherapy Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. She serves on the editorial boards of the APA journals, Psychoanalytic Psychology and Psychology of Men and Masculinities. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy (2016), and editor of Trauma and Racial Minority Immigrants: Turmoil, Uncertainty, and Resistance (2021), both published by the American Psychological Association Books.

Outline of Topics

  • Spirituality and religion (S/R) in clinical practice
  • Relational spirituality model (Sandage et al., 2020)
  • Intersections of S/R with social justice and cultural humility considerations
  • Spiritual and religious competence as part of cultural competence/humility
  • S/R diversity considerations within client views on suffering, trauma, and well-being

Learning Objectives

Attendees will be able to:

  1. Apply recent research on spirituality, religion, and diversity in mental health practice.
  2. Recognize and assess clinically-relevant domains of spiritual and religious diversity that can intersect with other diversity and justice domains.
  3. Utilize a relational spirituality model for clinical intervention.
  4. Integrate spirituality and religion as key aspects of culturally informed formulation and practice.
  5. Plan next steps for professional growth in their own spiritual and religious competence/humility.


  • 10 am to 12 pm RSM overview, Diversity, Justice, Humility Connections, Case Vignette
  • Break
  • 12:45 to 2:15 pm Engaging with Spirituality and Religion in Culturally Informed Relational Psychotherapy
  • Break
  • 2:30 to 4 pm Case Presentation. Video & Discussion, Growth in S/R Diversity Competence/Humility


  • Individual Registration: Early bird rate: $120, Regular rate: $135
  • Early registration deadline is September 4, 2022.
  • Members of NEAFAST, Black Therapists Rock, National Association of Black Counselors and all BIPOC clinicians may access an equity rate of $100
  • Please contact us for discount codes. No application is required.
  • 5 CEs will be available for eligible professions at an additional cost of $20 paid upon registration


The event will be held live on Zoom.

Registration Instructions

Payment options PayPal as a conduit to your credit card or a PayPal account. You may also register online and mail a check with a note indicating what program the payment is for. If you are mailing payment, please note that your space is not reserved until we receive it.

Email acknowledgments will be sent to confirm receipt of online registrations only. An email will be sent a few days before the start date of the event with details about your program.

Workshop CEs

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Participants MUST attend 100% of the program to earn the 5 CEs approved for eligible professions.

Within a week of the completion of the event, access will be given to participants who completed the workshop and paid for CEs to complete a course evaluation online and download their CE certificate.

  • Therapy Training Boston is approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6707 for Mental Health Counselors. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Therapy Training Boston is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Application for social work continuing education credits have been submitted. Please contact us for the status of social work CE accreditation.
  • Application is being made for psychology CE credit approval.
  • Application for certification by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST) on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LMFT professional continuing education is in process.
  • This webpage will be updated when approvals are processed. Please contact us for the status of CE approvals.

Read detailed information about CEs, here .

Target Audience

This learning event is designed for helping professionals including, but not limited to, social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, and marriage & family therapists. We designed the learning methodology to further develop beginning and intermediate professionals learning to use psychosocial support as a socially just practice. Advanced practitioners may attend the workshop in order to deepen their practice in direct service, supervision, and teaching roles. People who attend from professions other than those we are able to provide CEs for may request a Certificate of Attendance.

Cancellations and Refunds

No refunds are available for cancellations by participants regardless of the reason or time frame.

If participants cancel 30 days or more prior to the event beginning, they may apply the fee to a future program. Workshops may be cancelled by Therapy Training Boston if minimum enrollment requirements are not met or in the case of other unexpected circumstances. If this occurs, a full refund will be provided.

Additional Information

Course content level: This workshop will provide important information for clinicians who are at an introductory or intermediate level of knowledge about working with grief and traumatic loss. Advanced practitioners are welcome to attend the event to deepen their knowledge of the subject for practice, supervision, teaching, and administrative roles.

Target Audience: This offering is relevant to all helping professionals including but not limited to social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, marriage & family therapists.

Commercial support and conflicts of interest: There is no commercial support for this program.


For all event policies read this, detailed CE information here.