Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 1097–1106 | Cite as

Does a Therapist’s World View Matter?

  • John R. Peteet
  • Vithya B. Rodriguez
  • Marta D. Herschkopf
  • Alyssa McCarthy
  • Jennifer Betts
  • Stephanie Romo
  • J. Michael Murphy
Original Paper


While past research indicates that mental health professionals are less religious than the public they serve, little is known about the implications of therapists’ world views for their practice. In this study, approximately 50 therapists completed surveys that assessed self-identification in relation to spirituality, religion, and/or world view; how relevant they considered their patients’ and their own world views; and responses to clinical vignettes involving issues arising in treatment. While a minority considered themselves religious, a majority indicated that they considered themselves moderately or very spiritual. When asked how they would respond to a series of clinical vignettes involving topics such as assisted suicide and encouraging the use of spiritual resources, responses varied significantly by world view. Respondents endorsed several factors limiting the integration of religion/spiritualities/world views into their clinical work. These data raise questions about how to further explore the clinical relevance of the therapist’s world view.


Spiritual Religious World view Psychotherapy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Peteet, Rodriguez, Herschkopf, McCarthy, Betts, Romo, and Murphy have no conflicts of interest.

Human Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Peteet
    • 1
  • Vithya B. Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Marta D. Herschkopf
    • 3
  • Alyssa McCarthy
    • 4
  • Jennifer Betts
    • 5
  • Stephanie Romo
    • 6
  • J. Michael Murphy
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA
  5. 5.Behavioral Psychopharmacology LabMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  6. 6.Clinical Research DepartmentShriners Hospitals for ChildrenBostonUSA

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