Religiously integrated cognitive behavioral therapy: a new method of treatment for major depression in patients with chronic medical illness.


Journal Article

Intervention studies have found that psychotherapeutic interventions that explicitly integrate clients' spiritual and religious beliefs in therapy are as effective, if not more so, in reducing depression than those that do not for religious clients. However, few empirical studies have examined the effectiveness of religiously (vs. spiritually) integrated psychotherapy, and no manualized mental health intervention had been developed for the medically ill with religious beliefs. To address this gap, we developed and implemented a novel religiously integrated adaptation of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of depression in individuals with chronic medical illness. This article describes the development and implementation of the intervention. First, we provide a brief overview of CBT. Next, we describe how religious beliefs and behaviors can be integrated into a CBT framework. Finally, we describe Religiously Integrated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (RCBT), a manualized therapeutic approach designed to assist depressed individuals to develop depression-reducing thoughts and behaviors informed by their own religious beliefs, practices, and resources. This treatment approach has been developed for 5 major world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism), increasing its potential to aid the depressed medically ill from a variety of religious backgrounds.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pearce, MJ; Koenig, HG; Robins, CJ; Nelson, B; Shaw, SF; Cohen, HJ; King, MB

Published Date

  • March 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 56 - 66

PubMed ID

  • 25365155

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25365155

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1536

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0036448


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States