School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Gary Sibcy


Depression, Religious, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Religious Coping, God Attachment


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study used a single-case research design analysis to investigate the efficacy and effectiveness of the Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health (Duke Center)’s religious cognitive behavior therapy (RCBT) with four deeply religious Christians reporting moderate to severe depression. Literature suggests that religious individuals prefer interventions that reflect their religiosity and experience at least equal recovery rates compared to the use of conventional cognitive behavior therapy (CBT); however, they may not have access to effective religious treatments in customary religious venues, and there is a lack of understanding of why such individuals respond to religious treatments. The four participants received the Duke Center RCBT in a Christian clinical setting from a licensed counselor and were measured for depression, attachment to God, religious coping, and the perceived usefulness of the therapeutic materials. Results indicate that the protocol is transportable to a nonmedical Christian setting, as all participants responded to treatment and three of the four scored within the normal range on the Beck Depression Inventory II at the end of treatment. Attachment to God and religious coping improved in concert with reduced depression, suggesting a correlation between attachment and coping as mediatory features of change. It appears that all participants reported reduced depression due to cognitive and behavioral components of the RCBT material. Further studies may indicate how the Duke therapy may be used in other religious settings and how religion functions as a mechanism of change in treating depression. This study contributes to positive social change by helping clinicians to better understand and treat depression in religious people and expanding the availability of useful treatments for religious people.

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