Why Address Spirituality in Cognitive Behavior Therapy?
Eric Bellows1 is a 36-year old man who has experienced over 10 depressive episodes
accompanied by significant worry and anxious apprehension over the past fifteen years.
He is interested in exploring the ways in which spirituality and religion may help him to
cope with his symptoms, but does not know where to begin.
• Elizabeth Carmen is a 24-year old Roman Catholic. She recently presented to an
outpatient therapist with a first major depressive episode, following the voluntary
termination of a pregnancy. Elizabeth’s religious guilt is pronounced, but she is reluctant
to raise the topic for discussion with her secular therapist, out of concern that her moral
struggle will be dismissed as irrelevant or even viewed as pathological.
• Michelle Santos is a 56-year old devoutly religious Latina woman who has experienced
panic symptoms throughout her entire adult life without adequate diagnosis or treatment.
A recent divorcee, she entered psychotherapy last month at the behest of her priest. She
would like spirituality to be addressed in her treatment, but her therapist has not yet asked
her about this essential aspect of her life.