Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Religious Practices in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Stephanie Winkeljohn BlackEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_905

Name of Concept

Religious Practices in Couple and Family Therapy


Religion and spirituality; Spirituality


Over half of individuals in the USA identify religion and spirituality (R/S) as very important in their lives (Pew 2015); R/S is associated with both conflict and strength in relationships. The approach to integration of R/S practices is diverse; three frameworks are expanded on below: (1) R/S in Bowenian therapy, (2) the use of prayer as therapeutic homework, and (3) relational spirituality. All three have interrelated themes; clinicians can integrate these frameworks as needed.

Theoretical Context for Concept

While there are mixed findings on whether integrating R/S into treatment leads to better outcomes than no integration (Ripley et al. 2014), evidence suggests that the therapeutic alliance is built faster when R/S is integrated (Koenig et al. 2016). Moreover, failure to address R/S can lead to conflicts between the clinician and clients that affect...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State HarrisburgMiddletonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State University, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA