Pagan Clients as a Marketplace

I did an interview yesterday with the editor of an industry newletter.  He basically wanted to know what is Paganism, how can therapists work with it, and how big of a financial market opportunity does it represent.  I’d say the emphasis was on the last question — are Pagans a big enough market to warrant specialized attention from psychotherapists?

I’m going to refrain from reposting most of what I wrote and told him because I want to see what he publishes first — it would be uncool of me to undercut his article by posting the interview contents here first.  But this does raise all sorts of interesting questions for the Pagan community and for psychotherapists.

One of the tenets often heard within psychotherapy is that an accepting therapist, who is basically familiar with a cultural group, can service all clients.   So do you think this is true?  Can a therapist who is non-Pagan, but willing to see our Paths as valid and willing to learn a bit about Pagans, service Pagan clients adequately?  Or, does the therapist need to be religiously Pagan themselves in order to understand Pagan clients?

I’d love to hear opinions.  I’ll throw out my own opinion here for what it’s worth.  At the moment I think therapists who are doing secular therapy on standard mental health problems can service Pagan clients adequately if they take some time to learn about us.  I think therapists who specifically market to the Pagan community or who want to engage in something like pastoral or spiritual counseling as well need to be religiously Pagan themselves.  One possible exception might be a counselor on a somewhat similar personal path (like say Pervian shamanism) who chooses to spend LOTS AND LOTS of time at Pagan community events and trainings really getting immersed in our culture first.

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