Evolution and process of spiritual awakening A grounded theory study

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The present study used a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) approach to explore, examine and develop a grounded theory (GT) of spiritual awakening conceptualisation and process. The authors used the interview data of 34 eminent spiritual teachers who have written books on spirituality, led spiritual retreats and conducted lectures and trainings on spiritual quest. These participants come from diverse backgrounds (e.g., American, Asian, European and Mexican), trainings (e.g., Buddhism, Yoga, Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity and other mindfulness traditions) and professional experiences. The data analysis of the interviews led to the development of the spiritual awakening evolution (SAE) model, explaining the process and evolution of spiritual awakening. According to this model, spiritual awakening evolves through four phases: an initial transient shift in perception, further practice to support spiritual development, surrendering and a continuous journey of spiritual development. As spiritual awakening experiences are transcultural, the SAE model can inform counsellors' understanding of clients' spiritual needs and the meanings of those experiences. Implications for counsellor practitioners, counsellor preparation programmes and research are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)906-918
Number of pages13
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 7 2023

ASJC Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


  • counselling
  • grounded theory
  • spiritual awakening
  • spirituality
  • transcendence

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