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Beyond Mindfulness

Expanding Integration of Spirituality and Religion into Psychotherapy

Thomas G. Plante
Published Online: 2016-04-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0011


Since the publication of Bergin’s classic 1980 paper “Psychotherapy and Religious Values” in the Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, an enormous amount of quality research has been conducted on the integration of religious and spiritual values and perspectives into the psychotherapy endeavor. Numerous empirical studies, chapters, books, blogs, and specialty organizations have emerged in the past 35 years that have helped researchers and clinicians alike come to appreciate the value of religion and spirituality in the psychotherapeutic process. While so much has been accomplished in this area of integration, so much more needs to occur in order for the psychotherapeutic world to benefit from the wisdom of the great religious and spiritual traditions and values. While state-of-the-art quality research has and continues to demonstrate how religious and spiritual practices and values can be used effectively to enhance the benefits of behavioral and psychological interventions, too often the field either gets overly focused on particular and perhaps trendy areas of interest (e.g., mindfulness) or fails to appreciate and incorporate the research evidence supporting (or not supporting) the use of certain religiously or spiritually informed assessments and interventions. The purpose of this article is to reflect on where the field integrating religion, spirituality and psychotherapy has evolved through the present and where it still needs to go in the future. In doing so I hope to reflect on the call for integration that Bergin highlights in his classic 1980 paper.

Keywords: Spirituality; religion; psychotherapy; integration


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About the article

Received: 2015-10-28

Accepted: 2015-12-12

Published Online: 2016-04-25

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0011.

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©2016 Thomas G. Plante. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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