Using spiritually modified cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients wrestling with depression: a promising intervention for some older adults

HODGE David R., BONIFAS Robin P.
Journal article citation:
Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, 29(3), July 2010, pp.185-206.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

It has been suggested that the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the treatment of older adults with depression may be enhanced by incorporation of beliefs and values drawn from clients’ spiritual narratives. Research is reviewed on the effectiveness of spiritually modified CBT in the treatment of depression. Four overlapping rationales relating to the salience of spirituality, ethnic diversity, gender and religious diversity are discussed. Research suggests that, relative to traditional CBT, spiritually modified CBT may result in faster recovery, improved treatment adherence, lower posttreatment relapse, and reduced treatment disparity. It may therefore offer an alternative to the use of medication. The process of constructing spiritually modified CBT self-statements for use with older adults with depression is described and illustrated and basic guidelines are given to ensure ethical and professional practice. The authors comment that, given the promise inherent in spiritually modified CBT, further research on this modality should be prioritised to ensure that older adults receive the most efficacious treatment for depression.

Subject terms:
intervention, older people, religious beliefs, social work approaches, spirituality, behaviour therapy, depression;
Content type:
research review
Journal home page
ISSN online:
1542 6440
ISSN print:
1542 6432

Key to icons

  • Free resource Free resource
  • Journal article Journal article
  • Book Book
  • Digital media Digital media
  • Journal Journal

Give us your feedback

Social Care Online continues to be developed in response to user feedback.

Contact us with your comments and for any problems using the website.

Sign up/login for more

Register/login to access resource links, advanced search and email alerts