Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study is designed to gain understanding about the question: In what ways do mental health professionals incorporate spiritual and/or religious interventions during psychotherapy? It builds on existing research, focusing on specific interventions that have been carried out in a variety of mental health disciplines. The study is an attempt to further identify and document such interventions. It also explores factors that contribute to the successful use of the interventions within therapy sessions. Twelve highly experienced mental health workers in the eastern United States were interviewed, including clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, pastoral counselors, clinical psychologists, and a marriage and family counselor. Analysis of their recorded responses to a structured interview with open-ended questions resulted in thick descriptions of their accounts of cases, interventions, and their perceived success factors. The most significant and dramatic finding of this research project is support for the assertion that: When appropriate, a willingness and ability to include spirituality and/or religion in the psychotherapeutic process is essential to optimal psychotherapy.


iii, 104 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 94-97).