Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Religion and psychotherapy - what works ?

In recent decades psychologists have increasingly recognised the need to address spiritual and religious issues in mental health treatment, particularly when working with highly religious clients and there is an increasing amount of research to show how religousness may be effectively integrated within interventions and psychotherapy. However, there has been less research into which kinds of religious interventions are effective and when is the best time to raise religious issues in therapy. A U.S. study of 152 clients at a counselling centre sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has found that out-of-session religious interventions were seen as more appropriate than in-session ones although the in-session interventions were seen as more helpful. Specific interventions that were considered to be helpful included : referencing scriptural passages, teaching spiritual concepts, encouraging forgiveness, involving religious community resources and conducting assessments of client spirituality.

Martinez, Jennifer S., Smith, Timothy B. and Barlow, Sally H. - Spiritual interventions in psychotherapy : evalutions by highly religious clients Journal of Clinical Psychology October 2007, 63(10), 943-960

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