This paper examines whether religion and spirituality (R/S) should be incorporated into treatment for patients with serious mental illness. This question merits attention, especially in light of the strong presence of R/S in the United States and, in particular, among members of ethnic minorities. While the literature is somewhat mixed, prior research supports the view that incorporating adaptive R/S elements into treatment for patients with serious mental illness is beneficial, particularly for patients who do not exhibit severe psychotic symptoms. Drawing from our experiences in developing a family-focused Culturally-Informed Therapy for Schizophrenia (CIT-S), we will also highlight the importance of addressing spiritual issues within minority populations. In the second half of this paper, we will present several case illustrations of how R/S issues were used in CIT-S to help patients make sense of adverse situations and obtain much-needed support and coping resources outside the treatment room. Findings from this study indicate that religion and spirituality can often be incorporated into treatment in a way that coalesces with patients' values and enhances treatment gains. Future research should investigate how therapists' own R/S values interact with those of their clients, and whether congruency in R/S values has any impact on treatment efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology