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Religion, Therapy a Good Mix for Treating Depression

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that incorporates a personís religious beliefs can relieve depression as effectively as conventional CBT.

In a study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, researchers studied 132 adults ages 18 to 85 who were moderately to severely depressed and had at least one chronic illness, such as heart disease or diabetes, for at least six months. All participants said that religion or spirituality was at least somewhat important to them; most were Christian.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive ten 50-minute sessions of conventional CBT or religiously integrated CBT (RCBT) over 12 weeks. Both treatments were provided via telephone or computer. RCBT was led by therapists who had experience incorporating religious beliefs into CBT. RCBT followed the same principles and style as conventional CBT but made use of the clientís personal religious beliefs to identify and replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. For example, if a person mentioned a verse of scripture that was relevant to their treatment, the therapist encouraged the patient to memorize the passage and to regularly meditate on it.

CBT and RCBT worked equally well. Almost half of the people in each group went into remission. RCBT was slightly more effective in people who identified themselves as being more religious.

Posted in Depression and Anxiety on February 11, 2016


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Health After 50 Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the editors cannot be answered in this space.

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I recently received your e-mail regarding "tReligion, Therapy a Good Mix for Treating Depression". I was astonished, and extremely disappointed to see that what I had expected to be information based on fact and science, has become a cliched, faith-based propaganda machine. This article was totally inappropriate. It is not the place of an esteemed medical publication to promote myths regarding religion and one's personal beliefs. As an avowed atheist, and proud of it, it is offensive to me to receive disinformation and evangelism, in place of helpful facts based on education, scholarship and scientific wisdom. Let's stick to science, and leave myths to the climate change deniers.

Posted by: jb1249 | February 11, 2016 9:19 AM

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