The role of spirituality/religiosity in coping with the demands of the clinical and counselling psychology masters programme.
Post-graduate training in Clinical and Counselling Psychology has been likened to a ‘baptism of fire’, where students undergo an initiation or rite of passage as part of the process of becoming a psychologist. The purpose of the present research was to examine the role of spirituality and / or religiosity in coping with the demands of the Clinical and Counselling Psychology Masters Programme. Past and present students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard College Campus participated in the present study. Participants were invited via email to attend a one-on-one interview and an electronic survey. The findings of this study found that Clinical and Counselling Psychology post-graduate students do suffer from higher levels of distress due to the demands created by intense workloads, rigorous academic requirements and clinical training). This study’s results highlighted students' subjective perceptions of the demands of the training and their use of religious and spiritual coping methods as a means of ameliorating or coping with the stress caused by these demands. The specific religious and spiritual coping methods cited by respondents included comfort obtained from the act of surrendering to an omnipotent and benevolent being and ritualistic and private observances such as prayer, praise, devotional readings and religious attendance. These coping strategies created a sense of belonging and strength for those students. Implications and limitations of the current findings indicate that emphasis on and inclusion of spirituality and religion into the Masters training programme may be of benefit for both students and their future patients. Suggestions for future research are also offered.