Religion, depression, therapy, CBT, RCBT


Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment option for depression. Often, CBT is only effective at masking the symptoms of depression without helping the person overcome depression altogether; thus, it may benefit CBT patients if alternative therapies are combined with CBT. Incorporating the patient’s religion into therapy is an alternative that may help many people. A large percentage of Americans are still religious or spiritual. This literature review discusses methods of building a personalized version of CBT that incorporates the patient’s religion, or religiously integrated CBT (RCBT), and the effects of religion on fighting depression. Some of the unique tools RCBT uses are the power of prayer, involvement in a religious community, and the opportunity for gratitude. RCBT does not offer positive outcomes for depression with every patient, and often its success is dependent on the patient’s religious social support. Nevertheless, RCBT has been shown to help religious people cope with depression more effectively than more standard treatments.