Meaning making across three dimensions of religious experience: a qualitative exploration


family, religion, religious families, faith, religious lifestyles


The current study focused on the complex connections between meaning making, spirituality, and religious experiences. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted in a sample of 184 racial diverse and highly religious families (N = 445) individual participants). A three-dimensional, conception model of religion by Dollahite and Marks (2009) provided the framework for the findings. The following three themes are presented: (1) Meaning making and Spiritual Beliefs: "Faith is the only thing that satisfies that hunger"; (2) Meaning Making and Religious Practices: "We fit our life into our religion, not your religion into our life"; and (3) Meaning Making and Faith Community: "Our church family is just like family." In connection with each theme, several supporting examples from the data are offered to convey the voices and meaning making processes of the participants with authenticity. The data presented and themes identified are used to offer a framework for more culturally competent and, where appropriate or requested, Moore religious-accommodative therapy designed to aid clients in finding meaning in their daily lives.

Original Publication Citation

*Brown, T., *Lu, Y., Marks, L. D., & Dollahite, D. C. (2011). Meaning making across three dimensions of religious experience: A qualitative exploration. Counselling and Spirituality, 30, 11-36.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Counselling and Spirituality




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor