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About Arenas

Spiritual Arenas: These aspects of life present us with the best and the worst of what we can influence but cannot control. Identifying which of these arenas are currently stirring in people under your care is key to personally listening to them and capturing their soul in writing. They form a conceptual basis for a clinician’s spiritual assessment.

The Scope of Clinical Spirituality

PRIMARY ARENAS of the Human Spirit

SPIRITUALITY DEFINITION: all that an individual values, practices, believes, and decides in order to cope with, enjoy, and find meaning in what can’t be controlled, including the natural world and relationships with oneself, other people, Transcendence and communities of importance.
This website is based on the conviction that the best and worst of human experiences are inherently uncontrollable. We humans influence our world but never really control it.

There are essentially about three dozen aspects of life that make this uncontrollable quality obvious at times of both exhilaration and difficulty (e.g. the crises and milestones of parenting and romance.)

These arenas cluster into four types: interpersonal, personal, transcendent and communal. Only about five or six arenas are highly operant for a given person at any given time. Paying attention to events in these arenas offers opportunities to connect emotionally with others.


These aspects of life can be called spiritual because each one is a: Common aspect of human living, that is Mysteriously complex, Highly Influential (touches the soul), Beautifully Fulfilling, and Potentially Painful (sometimes needs healing).


A reality so profound it can never be comprehended (think parenting or romance); only reveals itself as you engage it (kids, lovers, and you constantly change); as it is engaged, it endlessly continues to unfold (Nobody has it all figured out!).



Interpersonal Spirituality Partnering/Contending with People: Parenting, Romantic Love, Childing, Siblings, Teaching, Learning, Helping, Help Getting, Interpersonal Spirituality, Partnering/Contending with People, The Elders.

PARENTING Relationship with your own offspring or one for whom you are a primary parenting-one
CHILDING (Relating with parents) Relationship with your parents at any age
INTIMATE LOVING Relationship with a cherished other, fed by the energy of emotional enthusiasm, and the potential for genital sex
FRIENDSHIP Non-sexual relationship with cherished others for the enrichment of both
SIBLINGS Relationship with your siblings
HELPING Relationship with those you assist in improving
GETTING HELP Productive partnership with a savvy other person for your own benefit
GRANDPARENTING Relationship with your offspring’s offspring
LEARNING Relationship with those who help you encounter and master the new
THE ELDERS’ Relationship with older men and/or older women

PERSONAL SPIRITUALITY Physical Self Care, Emotional Self Care, Self-Regard, Sexuality, Work, Play/Leisure, Nesting, Development/Aging, Athletics/Dance, Hobby-ing.

PHYSICAL SELF CARE Caring for your own body while coming to accept its limitations
EMOTIONAL SELF CARE Mature care of your own emotions while acknowledging their mystery
SELF-REGARD Learning to treasure your own person
SEXUALITY Dealing with the energy of sexuality and the urges of genital pleasure
WORK Utilizing your best gifts in satisfying accomplishments
PLAY/LEISURE Losing the sense of time in affective enjoyment
NESTING Arranging and caring for your own living space
MATERIALITY Relating to money and the material world
DEVELOPMENT/AGING Meeting developmental tasks and life’s inevitable, irreversible limitations of appearance and function
ATHLETICS/DANCE Stretching body and spirit in precise bodily movement and expression
HOBBY-ING Significant involvement in a non-employment activity that delights you

Nature, Religion, Personal Deity, Major Losses, Creative Arts, Mortality, Cosmic Harmony

NATURE Maintaining a sense of wonder at the natural miracles and rhythms of the universe
PERSONAL DEITY Relating to a Transcendent Being / Higher Power as personal
RELIGION Spiritual nurture through use of religious symbols, beliefs and practices
MAJOR LOSSES Integrating significant losses into your life
CREATIVE ENDEAVOR Appreciating and/or contributing to the arts and the development of culture
MORTALITY Facing your own death
COSMIC HARMONY Seeking oneness with the forces of the universe

Family of Origin, Ethnic Heritage, Neighborhood, Gender Community, Peer/Work Group, Faith Community, Nation, Human Community

FAMILY OF ORIGIN Living your place in the family in which you developed
ETHNIC HERITAGE Owning and celebrating the values and practices conveyed by various original cultures
NEIGHBORHOOD Involvement in your interpersonal dwelling surroundings
GENDER COMMUNITY Identifying with and involvement with people of similar sexual orientation
PEER/WORKGROUP Collaborating in mutually valued accomplishments
FAITH COMMUNITY Receiving spiritual enrichment through involvement with and contributing to a body of similar believers
CITIZENSHIP Patriotism or enthusiasm for one’s politically structured group
HUMAN COMMUNITY Claiming a place in the human race and contributing to it’s wellbeing