Pinterest Email Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share Share on Facebook New qualitative research published in the journal Open Theology provides some recommendations for counselors and psychotherapists who may encounter clients who follow one of the many Neopagan faiths.The researchers interviewed ten Pagan college students about their spiritual life and their counseling needs. They concluded that while Pagan clients have many of the same issues as non-Pagan clients, counselors and psychotherapists still need to take a culturally-sensitive approach. Pagan clients, for example, may face issues related to their religious identity and stigmatization.PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Kevin A. Harris of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Read his responses below: PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?Harris: I am an assistant professor and licensed psychologist, and most of my research (and a lot of my clinical work) focuses on the psychology of religion and spirituality — particularly on spirituality as an area of multicultural competency for counselors. During my doctoral program, I had to write a term paper for a class on “Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion,” and I was very surprised to learn that very little has been published on Paganism that’s intended for a professional audience of counselors or psychologists. I made friends with one of my classmates who was a third-generation Pagan, born and raised by Pagan parents, and we decided to interview other Pagans about what Paganism is and what counselors should know in order to provide culturally-sensitive therapy to Pagan clients.What is the main thing counselors and psychotherapists should take away from your article?We found that the Pagan college students we interviewed view Paganism as an earth-based spirituality and religion, have a naturalistic view on religion and spirituality, have an open view on sex and sexuality, and generally considered Paganism to be a polytheistic faith, at least superficially – though many of the participants considered Paganism to be both polytheistic and monotheistic. They were less likely than non-Pagans to seek counseling or accept medication, instead preferring to seek alternatives such as meditation. Many had similar concerns about the stigmatization of Paganism. Many of our interviewees also described “coming out of the broom closet” as being similar to the coming-out process described by people who are GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender). They emphasized, though, that no two Pagans are alike – that there is great diversity within Paganism, moreso than in most of the world’s major religions, and they expressed a strong desire to be treated as individuals.Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?Our findings may only apply to college-aged Pagans in the United States — and are weighted heavily towards people who identify as both Pagan and GLBT. These findings may not apply to all Pagans. A national sample would be good. Our research was qualitative in nature, so a quantitative survey would logically come next.Is there anything else you would like to add?I would add that our findings should be viewed as a starting point for respectful dialogue with clients, not as hard-and-fast rules or a way to put anyone into a metaphorical box. It’s always important to get to know clients as individuals who may or may not share particular characteristics with the groups they belong to. This seems to be especially true with Pagan clients; it’s important to respect them as individuals.The study, “Paganism and Counseling: The Development of a Clinical Resource,” was co-authored by Kate M. Panzica and Ruth A. Crocker.
(Reuters) LeBron James recorded 29 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game Eastern Conference semifinal sweep of Toronto by rolling to a 128-93 victory over the visiting Raptors on Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Kevin Love scored 23 points to help fourth-seeded Cleveland reach the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth straight campaign. Kyle Korver scored 16 points, JR Smith added 15 on 6-of-6 shooting, and George Hill had 12 points as the Cavaliers dominated top-seeded Toronto over the final 31 minutes.Cleveland recorded its 10th straight postseason triumph over Toronto. The Cavaliers eliminated the Raptors for the third straight season.“It was a great series for us,” James said in a postgame television interview on TNT. “We had a lot of challenges before the series knowing the domination they had in the regular season. So we had a great game plan and we just tried to execute it as close to 48 minutes as possible.” Toronto star DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points before being ejected late in the third quarter. Backcourt partner Kyle Lowry had just five points to go with 10 assists.Jonas Valanciunas scored a team-best 18 points for the Raptors. CJ Miles notched 13 points, Serge Ibaka added 12 and Delon Wright tallied 10.The Cavaliers will face either the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers in the East finals. Boston leads that series 3-1. The Raptors became the third NBA team to be swept in a series before the conference-final stage. The 1969 Baltimore Bullets dropped four in a row to the New York Knicks in the Eastern Division semifinals, and the 1951 Philadelphia Warriors fell 2-0 to the Syracuse Nationals in the Eastern Division semifinals.The only other No. 1 seed to be swept at any point over the past 15 years was the 2015 Atlanta Hawks, who fell 4-0 to James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.“They happened to run into LeBron,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said of the Raptors. “They haven’t lost to any other team the past three years but us. I think we have a good team, and having LeBron to get through, it’s tough.” Toronto coach Dwane Casey agreed that James was a big part of his team’s problem.“You’re looking at one of the guys that is going to go down as one of the greatest ever,” Casey said. “It’s a matchup nightmare for anybody.”Cleveland shot 59.5 percent from the field, including 12 of 26 from 3-point range. The Raptors shot 45.6 percent and were 4 of 15 from behind the arc. “Defensively, we’re playing pretty good,” Lue said. “When we’re getting stops, we’re able to get out in transition and able to get pace, we’re really good.“This series, we made shots. Guys made threes. A lot of different guys stepped up. Having four or five guys in double figures every single night is big for us. I mean, we still have to keep getting better, but I like where we’re at right now.”The Cavaliers led by 16 at halftime and increased the margin to 20 for the first time — at 73-53 — on a basket by James with 7:55 left in the third quarter.Back-to-back baskets by James pushed the score to 97-70, and Jordan Clarkson’s breakaway three-point play made it 100-72 with 23.6 seconds left in the third. DeRozan fouled Clarkson and sent him sprawling to the floor. The officials reviewed the play and changed the foul call to a flagrant-2 foul, which comes with immediate ejection.Cleveland’s lead reached 30 for the first time when Tristan Thompson converted a three-point play to make it 106-76 with 9:26 remaining.Smith scored all 15 of his points in the first half, and the Cavaliers shot 61.9 percent from the field to take a 63-47 lead into the break. Toronto tied the score at 40 on a layup by Miles with seven minutes remaining in the second quarter before Cleveland concluded the half with a 23-7 burst. The run included the final 12 points of the half.“I thought they showed their championship pedigree,” Casey said of the Cavaliers. “A great example for us on the difference between the regular season and a playoff run, and they’re playing at a high level right now.”