Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Spirituality in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Froma WalshEmail author
  • Annette Mahoney
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_550


Spirituality, a broad overarching construct, refers to a personal investment in transcendent values and practices, both within and outside organized religion.


Spiritual beliefs and practices have anchored and nourished families over the millennia and across cultures. Today, the vast majority of families worldwide adopt some form of expression for their spiritual needs, both within and outside organized religion. Spiritual beliefs come to the fore in dealing with adversity, the experience of suffering, and the meaning of problems, their cause, and their future course. They also influence how people communicate about their pain and their preferred pathways in recovery. Many who seek help for physical, emotional, or relational problems are also in spiritual distress. Therefore, it is important to address the spiritual dimension in clinical practice as a possible source of suffering and a potential resource for healing and resilience.

Theoretical Context and Description

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Center for Family Health and Firestone Professor Emerita, The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean D. Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA