Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 1131–1146 | Cite as

The Use of Religion and Spirituality in Psychotherapy: Enablers and Barriers

  • Ottilia BrownEmail author
  • Diane Elkonin
  • Samantha Naicker
Original Paper


The use of religion and spirituality in psychotherapy has been a contentious issue for decades. This paper explores and describes whether psychologists would use religion and spirituality in psychotherapy as well as enablers and barriers in this regard. A qualitative exploratory descriptive method was followed using purposive sampling to obtain a sample of clinical and counselling psychologists. The focus group strategy was used to collect the data, and Tesch’s model of content analysis was used to analyse the qualitative findings. Most participants expressed a willingness to discuss religion and spirituality with their clients. Participants also highlighted specific enablers and barriers to incorporating religion and spirituality in psychotherapy. This article has the potential to influence professional training in psychology and psychotherapy.


Religion Spirituality Psychotherapy Biopsychosocial-spiritual model of health care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ottilia Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diane Elkonin
    • 1
  • Samantha Naicker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Nelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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