A growing body of research is beginning to identify characteristics that influence or are related to helping professionals’ integration of clients’ religion and spirituality (RS) in mental health treatment. This article presents Namaste Theory, a new theory for understanding the role of mental health practitioners’ RS in clinical practice. Using Glaser’s (2008) formal quantitative grounded theory approach, this article describes an emerging theme in the author’s line of work—particularly that practitioners’ intrinsic religiosity is significantly related to their consideration of clients’ RS—and explores the findings of related, interdisciplinary studies. The Hindu term, Namaste
, meaning, “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”, provided a framework to explain the emerging theme. Specifically, Namaste Theory introduces the concept that as helping professionals infuse their own RS beliefs/practices into their daily lives, deepening their intrinsic religiosity and awareness of what they deem sacred, they tend to consider and integrate clients’ RS beliefs/practices, and what clients consider sacred as well. In order words, as the helping professional recognizes the sacred within him or herself, s/he appears to be more open to recognizing the sacred within his/her client. Future directions for research, as well as practice and education implications, are discussed.
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