Finding God in the intuitive: Reclaiming the therapist’s spirituality — Adam Kishtainy

Special Issue 11 (1) 2019 “Exploring the spiritual in music: Interdisciplinary dialogues in music, wellbeing and education” – Article (first published on 24 November 2019)

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Finding God in the intuitive: Reclaiming the therapist’s spirituality

Adam Kishtainy

University of the West of England; Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (NHS), UK


This article presents a selection of case studies exploring the theme of music and spirituality and offers a theoretical frame for clinical practice. I intend to draw a direct link between my own spirituality (Christian) and the role of the intuitive in the therapeutic process, inviting the reader to re-frame the article within their own world view. Recent research has highlighted the relative sparsity of published material related to the role of a therapist’s spirituality in the therapeutic relationship. This may be due to a number of factors, not least that most therapists are operating within secular contexts and theoretical frameworks, and are likely to experience resistance or even dismissal if their personal spiritual beliefs are explicitly expressed within their practice. Similarly, a definition of intuition within a robust theoretical framework has proven to be evasive. The very nature of intuition (and indeed spirituality) creates a bias away from the evidence-based practice that is held in such high esteem through most therapeutic disciplines. In this article, I propose a framework for therapeutic practice that gives permission for the therapist to embrace their spiritual belief system as an essential core of their clinical work. I build my discussion on a definition of spirituality that implies an external divine being (God) who can be in relationship with the therapist and client. From this basis I suggest that moments of intuition need not be seen as mysterious and inexplicable, but rather as the influence of the divine.


music, therapy, spirituality, God, intuition, healing


Adam Kishtainy is currently Associate Lecturer on the MA Music Therapy programme at the University of the West of England, Music Psychotherapist at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, and clinical supervisor in private practice. Previously he has worked at Children’s Hospice South West as music therapist and chaplain, as a church pastor in a local church, and in areas including prisons and looked after children. The work discussed in this article was completed in his own time and does not necessarily reflect the views of the organisations mentioned. []