In addictions counseling, the spiritual life review could be used as a definite resource to implement better services for the elderly. Older adults comprise one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States today, and are also described as the most spiritual and religious of all the age groups. (Lewis, 2001, p. 231) However, counselors need to be careful when it come to intermingling religious and spiritual beliefs to their clients. An effective client must be able to address issues dealing with the mind, body and spirit.
The counselor needs to ensure that their views are not being expressed to the client. When a person reaches a certain age, they focus more on death because of the number of close friends and family members that are dying that may be close to their age. The elderly may be inclined to divert more towards spirituality or religion to cope with those circumstances. The spiritual needs are actually dimensions of spiritual well-being, and that these needs should be addressed by mental health professionals working with adults. (Lewis, 2001, p. 236).
In many instances spiritual needs can be closely related to the psychotherapeutic needs of the clients. For example, the list of needs relevant to psychotherapy with older adult can include (1) meaning purpose and hope, (2) transcending circumstances, (3) maintaining identity and self-esteem, (4) integrity and worthiness, (5) continuity, (6) religious participation, (7) expression of anger and doubt, (8) loving and serving others, (9) cultivating thankfulness, (10) forgiving and being forgiven, and (11) preparation for death and dying. Lewis, 2001, p. 236). These are all things that we want people who face any addiction to realize. By following this formula or one closely related, will allow the person facing addictions to to understand the need for the addiction and ways of overcoming the addiction day by day. There are several limitations to promoting spiritual discussions with all elderly people. Simply because the client is an older adult, does not mean they are interested in spiritual conversation.
The counselor needs to make judgment, with the client, on whether a spiritual life review would be helpful for the specific reason he or she is coming to counseling. The spiritual review may not be beneficial to all clients who are elderly and dealing with addictions. In any situation or counseling experience, the spiritual review should be based upon each individual dilemma, not their age. Reference: Lewis, M. M. (2001). Spirituality, Counseling and Elderly: An Introduction to the Spiritual Life Review. Journal of Adult Development, 8(4), 231-240.