Hungarian Psychotherapists’ Experiences of the Cooperation with Spiritual Directors 
and Pastoral Counselors: A Qualitative Study
Zsuzsanna JÁKI Contact / Kontakt / Kapcsolat, András ITTZÉS, Edith A. KIRI, Viola SALLAY, Magdolna KŐVÁRI & Teodóra TOMCSÁNYI
EJMH Vol 14 Issue 1 (2019) 78-108;
Received: 28 August 2018; accepted: 18 March 2019; online date: 3 June 2019
Section: Research Papers
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There has been a constantly growing interest towards the themes of psychotherapy and spirituality in the past decades. The questions and experiences concerning spirituality can come up and play an important role in the psychotherapeutic relationship. Often another helping relationship, spiritual direction or pastoral counseling is already present in religious people’s life, before or at the time of starting psychotherapy. In our research we tried to find answers to the question of how psychotherapists approach cooperation with spiritual directors and pastoral counselors, what attitudes and experiences they have in this regard. In the research semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out with 31 Hungarian psychotherapists, and they were analyzed with the method of Grounded Theory. Four main categories evolved during the analysis of the interviews. In the first main category, where there is no cooperation between the helping professionals, codes refer to the attitudes, whether the psychotherapists would be open to cooperate, what professional considerations they would follow, and in what framework the cooperation could be realized. In the second main category the psychotherapist and the spiritual director work parallel with the patient, without contacting each-other, in the third the psychotherapist is in contact with the spiritual director / pastoral counselor, and in the fourth the psychotherapist evaluates the experiences of the cooperation.


spirituality, psychotherapy, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, Grounded Theory,
interdisciplinary cooperation, Central Eastern Europe

Corresponding author

JÁKI Zsuzsanna 
Semmelweis Egyetem Mentálhigiéné Intézet 
H-1089 Budapest Nagyvárad tér 4., 19. em. Hungary
[tabby title="Co-authors"]
Dr. ITTZÉS András: Szent István Egyetem; Hungary - 
KIRI Edith A.: Dimenzio Health Center; Hungary - 
Dr. SALLAY Viola: Semmelweis Egyetem, Egészségügyi Közszolgálati Kar, Mentálhigiéné Intézet & 
Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Bölcsészettudományi Kar, Pszichológiai Intézet; Hungary - 
KŐVÁRI Magdolna: Manréza Lelkigyakorlatos Ház; Hungary - 
Prof. em. TOMCSÁNYI Teodóra: Semmelweis Egyetem, Mentálhigiéné Intézet; Hungary