Helping Couples Deal with Cultural and Religious Diversity



Knowledge of cultural and/or religious differences in partner relationships is essential to competency in couples counseling. Irrational beliefs may be manifested differently from culture to culture and religion to religion, but basic erroneous beliefs are present across cultures and religions. Cultural and religious differences may shape the form, content, and timing of interventions, but the goal of interventions is to lower the incidence of distorted beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors across cultures and religions. For individuals in some cultures, it is important for the therapist to spend considerable time addressing activating events and changing future situations before confronting the distorted cognitions. While cognitively based therapies may have to be modified to address these differences, they are flexible enough to accommodate those changes, improve outcomes, and maintain the integrity of the therapy.


Migration Depression Europe Income Verse 


  1. Bergin, A., & Jensen, J. (1990). Religiosity of psychotherapists: A national survey. Psychotherapy, 27, 3–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burgess, P. H. (1990). Toward resolution of conceptual issues in the assessment of belief systems in rational-emotive therapy. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 4, 171–184.Google Scholar
  3. Castillo, R. J. (1997). Culture & mental illness. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  4. Ellis, A. (1960). The art and science of love. Secacus, NJ: Lyle Stuart.Google Scholar
  5. Ellis, A. (1980). A case against religiosity. New York: Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy.Google Scholar
  6. Gartner, J. (1996). Religious commitment, mental health, and prosocial behavior: A review of the empirical literature. In E. Shafranske (Ed.), Religion and the clinical practice of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  7. Geffen, R. (2005). Intermarriage and conversion in the United States. In Jewish Women’s Archive. About “Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia”. %3C March 21, 2012.Google Scholar
  8. Ibrahim, E., & Johnson-Davies, D. (1980). Forty Hadith Qudsi. Beirut: Dar al-Koran al-Kareem.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson, S. (2006). The congruence of the philosophy of rational emotive behavior therapy within the philosophy of mainstream christianity. Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 6, 45–56.Google Scholar
  10. Jones, S., & Burman, R. (1991). Modern psychotherapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lazarus, A. A. (1985). Marital myths. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact.Google Scholar
  12. Lega, L. (1993). Diferencias transculturales en el uso de algunas tecnicas de terapia racional-emotiva: ejercicios para atacar la vergüenza. Psicologia Conductual, 1, 283–288.Google Scholar
  13. Lega, L., Caballo, V., & Ellis, A. (2009). Teoría y Práctica de la Terapia Racional Emotivo-Conductual (2nd ed.). Madrid: Siglo XXI.Google Scholar
  14. Lega, L. I., & Ellis, A. (2001). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) in the new millenium: A cross-cultural approach. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 19(4), 203–224.Google Scholar
  15. Lega, L. I., & Lega-Siccar, J. (1994). Influencia de los factores emocionales en la colitis ulcerosa. Colombia Med, 25(1), 15–17.Google Scholar
  16. Lonner, W. P., & Malpass, R. (1994). Psychology and culture. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  17. McGoldrick, M., & Giordano, J. (1996). Overview: Ethnicity and family therapy. In M. McGoldrick, J. Giordano, & J. Pearce (Eds.), Ethnicity & family therapy. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  18. McGoldrick, M., Giordano, J., & Garcia-Preto, N. (2005). Ethnicity & family therapy. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  19. Nielsen, S., Johnson, W., & Ellis, A. (2001). Counseling and psychotherapy with religious ­persons: a rational emotive behavior therapy approach. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Pan American Health Organization. (1997). Index of violence in Latin American countries. New York: UN/ PAHO.Google Scholar
  21. Paniagua, F. A. (2001). Diagnosis in a multicultural context. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Richards, P. S., & Bergin, A. E. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of psychotherapy and religious diversity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  23. Robinson, T. L., & Howard-Hamilton, M. F. (2000). The convergence of race, ethnicity, and ­gender. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., & Szapocznik, J. (2010). Rethinking the concept of acculturation. American Psychologist, 66(4), 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Peter’s UniversityJersey CityUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cognitive TherapyAvonUSA
  3. 3.New Englad Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and PsychiatryGlastonburyUSA

Personalised recommendations