Original Paper

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 117-134

First online:

Being Examples to the Flock: The Role of Church Leaders and African American Families Seeking Mental Health Care Services

  • Argie J. AllenAffiliated withPrograms in Couple and Family Therapy, Drexel University
  • , Maureen P. DaveyAffiliated withPrograms in Couple and Family Therapy, Drexel University Email author 
  • , Adam DaveyAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, Temple University

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Within the context of Black churches, African American clergy have a significant role in the delivery of mental health care services for parishioners and their families. Working toward better linkages between faith-based communities and more formal mental health care could help to provide more culturally sensitive and timely mental health care for African American families. Using a salient part of an integrative model (Davey and Watson in Contemp Fam Ther 30:31–47, 2008), the roles Black church leaders have historically played for African American families seeking outside mental health care services are considered. We additionally provide an example of a recent collaborative partnership with a Black church that points toward some promising directions for future research and clinical collaborations between the field of couple and family therapy and the Black church community.


Black church leaders Mental health seeking African American clergy Mental health care Research partnership Mental health disparties