About the Book

There are a number of books available on the subject of spirituality in counseling.

Some unique features of this book:

  • exploration of the potential relationship of spirituality to therapeutic themes such as attachment, trauma, subpersonalities, and somatic experience
  • application of the concepts in the stories of nine fictional characters based on the Enneagram
  • an approach to spirituality as a therapeutic resource and also as an avenue of growth and transformation

Many counseling clients find comfort and meaning in their spiritual lives, whether this involves religious affiliation or the diverse viewpoints of the “spiritual but not religious.” But counselors and psychotherapists often lack training for work in this territory and may be wary of opening the door.

The Interplay of Psychology and Spirituality is an exploration of the subtle, fluid relationship between psychology and spirituality that offers valuable perspectives and suggestions for embracing spirituality and religion in the helping professions. Drawing on Jungian, transpersonal, and integral perspectives, Hepburn highlights personal and cultural styles, spirituality as a therapeutic resource, and the potential for psychospiritual growth. She also emphasizes the importance of focusing on metaphors, stories, and direct experience rather than beliefs. Thoughtful attention is given to potential psychospiritual problems, ethical dilemmas, and diagnostic challenges. There are also frequent opportunities for personal reflection.

Unique features of the book include consideration of the potential relationship of spirituality to therapeutic themes such as attachment, trauma, subpersonalities, and somatic experience, as well as application of the concepts in the stories of nine fictional characters based on the Enneagram. 

Thoughtful and thought provoking, The Interplay of Psychology and Spirituality is a valuable resource for helping professionals, spiritual directors, and for general readers with a particular interest in the subject.

Available online:


Dr. Alexandra Hepburn has provided counselors and therapists with an amazingly useful and thoughtful discussion of the role of spirituality in therapeutic work with our clients. From my perspective as a clinical mental health counselor who believes that the spiritual domain is always present in the problems and conflicts that our clients bring, Interplay is a must-read, providing wonderful examples of how to work with a variety of presenting issues where spiritual themes might be missed if not attended to.

Ned Farley

PhD, Chair, Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision, Antioch University Seattle

A skillful resource for our specialized age. Hepburn interweaves the multiple dimensions and disciplines of humanity’s most ultimate concerns with practical potency and illustrative wisdom.

Neville Ann Kelly

DMin, PhD, professional spiritual director and Integral Master Coach™

This volume is a lovely introduction to some of the most important issues in transpersonal psychology. It brings a unique lens to view some of them, in particular the Enneagram and Jung’s typology, and is an accessible approach to whoever wants to explore this area.

Brant Cortright

PhD, Author, "Psychotherapy and Spirit,""Integral Psychology," and "The Neurogenesis Diet and Lifestyle"

Practicing psychotherapeutic training doesn’t teach spiritual literacy. This readable volume fills that gap. It is, first, an intelligent guide to a series of the most advanced and rich theoretical frameworks for understanding the interplay of psychology and spirituality. And it applies those distinctions by guiding the reader through a far-reaching survey of the nature and varying expressions of spiritual experience, as well as their relationships to various neuroses and psychopathologies. Additionally, it reflects an embodied appreciation of the richness of interior spiritual experience. Thus, it’s far more than a series of theoretical distinctions, it’s a rich exploration of lived experience that makes those distinctions come alive, giving them flesh and blood.

Terry Patten

Author, "A New Republic of the Heart," co-author "Integral Life Practice"

Interplay is a gift that keeps on giving. Alexandra Hepburn has filled this book with treasure upon treasure, some you’ll use now, some you’ll come back for later. Her capacity for interweaving psychological and spiritual ways of seeing and being – for helping them play together — is remarkable. This is a work of wisdom.

Russell Siler Jones

PhD, LPCS, Author, "Spirit in Session: Working with Your Client’s Spirituality (and Your Own) in Psychotherapy"

I believe it is essential to weave together psychotherapeutic healing and understanding with spiritual experience and perspective for whole healing to happen. Dr. Alexandra Hepburn has woven a beautiful tapestry that integrates the value of the Enneagram, an ancient key to unraveling the wounded ego and inspiring our integration of our highest virtues, along with very practical interventions that will serve all clinicians and clients alike. We must explore the depths in order to discover the heights and embody this wisdom into our everyday living.

Diane Poole Heller

PhD, Author, "Healing your Attachment Wounds," "The Power of Attachment: How to Create Deep and Lasting Relationships"; Healing your Attachment Wounds" (audiobook).

Alexandra Hepburn makes an important and timely contribution to the vital activity of supporting healing and growth in psychotherapy by thoroughly addressing the intersection of psychology and spirituality. By wisely and skillfully deploying the Enneagram system of personality, perhaps the most powerful psycho-spiritual tool available today that addresses this integration, she clarifies the way these two approaches may be usefully combined and advances the ability of therapists everywhere to do deeper work with clients in a more effective way.   

Beatrice Chestnut

PhD, MA, Author, "The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge"; "The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st-Century Workplace"

In The Interplay of Psychology and Spirituality, Hepburn artistically and expertly interweaves spiritual development, self/other knowledge of the Enneagram, and spiritual intelligence. The result is both words and the melody of the beautiful dance between mental health and spirituality. This is a must read for all psychotherapists interested in the spiritual journey, both their own and that of the clients they serve.

Craig Cashwell

PhD, Author, with J. Scott Young, "Integrating Spirituality and Religion into Counseling: A Guide to Competent Practice"

A debut manual for counselors and therapists grapples with spirituality issues.

Based on her 26-year career as a grief and life transitions counselor and therapist, Hepburn offers advice to those in the helping professions who encounter challenging patient problems involving spirituality. Many science-based practitioners have a difficult time evaluating spiritual visions, near-death experiences, and other extraordinary events patients sometimes bring to therapy. Discussing Jung, contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber, mindfulness teachers Jack Kornfield, and Stan Grof, and many authorities in various spiritual traditions, the author employs personality typologies based on the ancient Enneagram and ideas about individuation in her wide-ranging guide. Written in a sophisticated and trenchant style, this book weaves together crucial concepts and practices that support a deep engagement with a provocative subject often dismissed in much professional literature as myth or nonsense. “How can we understand the relationship between these two approaches to personality differences?” the author asks in examining Jung’s emphasis on wholeness by dealing with psychological opposites and the Enneagram’s transformational unveiling of different personality layers. This book attempts to answer this and many other thorny and complex questions involving psychology and spirituality. Replete with useful charts, graphs, and images, this resource for practitioners does not shy away from extensively exploring not only the rewards of spiritual journeys, but also the dangerous pitfalls,self-deceptions, and delusions emerging from those odysseys. Hepburn addresses all of this with admirable detail, clarity, and honesty.

A psychologist delivers an insightful and thorough guide to coping with patients’ spiritual journeys. -- Kirkus Reviews