Date of Conferral







Alethea Baker


The Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVC) identifies 9 core competencies for integrating spirituality/religion into practice. Previous research indicates that some mental health professionals have experienced discomfort when considering the balance between religious ideology (RI) and scientific orientation (SO) in their practice. However, no research exists assessing this potential for cognitive dissonance among mental health professionals nor has there been a test of the relative influence of RI/SO on approval of ASERVC competency integration into counselor training. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was first to assess RI/SO cognitive dissonance and, second, to test RI/SO relative to ASERVC competency integration. The Religious Ideology, Scientific Orientation, Conflict Questionnaire and Core Competency Questionnaire was administered to a random sample of American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association professionals. The results from t tests revealed a significant difference in cognitive dissonance with higher scores on both RI/SO associated with greater dissonance. Multiple regression analysis revealed neither RI nor SO predict competency approval. Findings suggest an important social-change implication: Counselors may not perceive a conflict between RI and SO and, therefore, may be willing to accept the integration of the ASERVC competencies into their training. Implications also include changes in curricular requirements within academic programs that train counselors, social workers, and psychologists to integrate these competencies; considerations for ethical guidelines addressing religious and spiritual diversity; and the development of continuing education coursework pertaining to spiritual and religious diversity competencies.