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For decades now, there is an outstanding and
continuing contention fathoming religion as an aspect of therapeutic
designation. In the argument for the hypothesis, Rosmarin et al., stated that
the integration of religion into the therapeutic process incorporates the
cognitive as well as philosophic perspectives and attributes of emotional
behavior. According to Kersting, (2003), individuals in most cases consult
religion for advice and counsel; the religious people have been historically
applying the therapeutic and religion fields to enhance healing and improvement
of human well-being. As a result, there was an emergent of the religion therapy
by the start of the 19th Century. Religion Therapy refers to the
form of counseling that tries to treat the soul, mind and the body of an
individual by through the individual belief systems and faith in the
supernatural power to reconnoiter the conflicting fields in life. The people
who trust and believe in the guiding nature of the higher power stand up to
view the religion therapy helpful. 

Through the application of religion therapy,
an individual with an experience with depression is most likely to get moral
conflict in some aspects of life. In instances of anxiety, people are
vulnerable to experience unconscious actions of self-sabotage. During both the
depression and anxiety state, human beings make use of the religious therapy
helps in unrevealing the conflicting aspects and probable mental concerns that
may crop up. The study conducted by William Hathaway, a Christian psychologist
in the Regent University of Virginia says that he was the major therapist in
the family whose son suffered from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD). Hathaway advised the family on their religious stands, faith, and
beliefs. Realizing that the family was a Jewish and the behavior of the son
prevented them from attending the church services, Hathaway advised from to go
back to the Jewish religious rituals. “They had made the decision not to
and were tearful about it when asked, especially because none of their mental
health providers had considered it before,” says Hathaway (Anderson, 231).

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After a long discussion
with the family on the ramifications of religious in the life of the family,
extensively broadened the experience of the family concerning the relationship
between therapy and religion. According to Hathaway, religious practices and
experiences will strengthen the ability of the family to encounter the ADHD
condition in the son.

Religion as a Therapeutic Strategy

use of religion as a therapeutic instrument has garnered a little controversy;
however, it is still surfacing in the contemporary world. The religious
therapeutic approach involves the techniques of prayers, spiritual journaling,
forgiveness procedures, using biblical quotes to corroborate the emotional and
mental habits by aiming at achieving the God’s punitive image (Durham
et al., (320).

instance, Hathaway has used the religion-founded forgiveness protocol to aid
his client to manage the emotional challenges that resulted from the problems
inflicted by the friend or the family member. The use of the religious
teachings of forgiveness helps the clients to avoid unhealthy anger as well as
emerge the obnoxious condition without justifying the mistreatment. However, in
complementing statement towards the Hathaway’s philosophy, Carrie Doehring, a
“Psychologist at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver” said that in
the course of religion forgiveness protocols implementation, the religion might
cause a negative effects on the life of the client: believing in God who has
angry attribute, should be microscopically observed to prevent the therapy to
cause more emotional harm or crisis than before (Maloof,
P. (n.d.).

the profound understanding and comprehension of the religion as a therapeutic
strategy, the religious cognitive-emotional therapy; a modern type of
psychotherapy was established. In this, the psychologists and psychotherapists
have enormously embarked on the research to understand the connectivity between
the religion and mental health, using religious interpositions in
psychotherapies. Despite the fact that various forms of religious
psychotherapies have been supposed, there is no comprehensive empirical theory
was formulated in this field of study.

Religious Cognitive-Emotional Therapy

Religious Cognitive-Emotional Therapy (RCET) is recognized as the modern
cognitive therapy that applies the fundamental religious beliefs as well as
insights in conducting the psychotherapy treatments. Actually, RCET integrates
“cognitive, humanistic as well as existential psychotherapies” that embrace the
client’s religious standards and insights. According to the study by
Williams, about “Clark OM, Fairburn CG, editors. Science and
practice of cognitive behavior therapy”, RCET stands out to be a critically effective
approach to psychotherapy especially for the victims of identity disorders, anxiety,
and depression.

Ideology of RCET

As said earlier by Durham et al., (319), the
Religious Cognitive-Emotional Therapy (RCET) is the significantly modern
strategy of cognitive theory which is founded on the concepts of religion. As
indicated by the cognitive theories, human thinking (cognition), the human
perception (emotion and effect) and human actions (behavior) form an
interactive approach with each other. The basic purpose of undertaking
cognitive therapy on human beings is to recognize the maladaptive/irrational
thoughts, suppositions as well as beliefs related to incapacitating the
negative emotions. Additionally, the cognitive therapy is responsible for
identification of dysfunctional emotions from human mental disabilities. Ultimately,
the patients or victims shed out the irrational, maladaptive and distorted
perceptions and instead, replace them with founded, realistic and self-helping
alternatives (Anderson, 223).

The two basic theories that provide concepts
to the RCET include the Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a theory that was
created by Aaron T. Beck in 1976 and the theory of Rational Emotive Behavior
Therapy (REBT) which was formulated by Albert Ellis in 1962. Beck,
Rush, Shaw & Emery gives
a detailed description of the thinking errors, irrational, non-resourceful as
well as unrealistic (fictions) thoughts regarding oneself, other people and the
universe that he trusted to be the sources of the emotional depression and
unsuitable conducts of humanity. Examples of the thinking errors that Beck
addressed include “the black and
white thinking, arbitrary inference, selective abstraction, overgeneralization,
magnification, and minimization.” Therefore, the cognitive therapy
aims at identifying and changing the “distorted” or “unrealistic”
thinking approaches and instead, to enact the emotions and behaviors. On the
other hand, the REBT framework perceives that the human beings’ way of thinking
and maladaptive beliefs are the two factors that are at the core of emotional
disturbances experienced. As indicated by Ellis (326) the feelings and
behaviors of human beings are determined by the people’s belief system rather
the external events.

the REBT pedagogical approach, the emotional therapists might identify the
irrational belief systems and educate the victim how to overcome such
maladaptive beliefs daily. Ultimately, the outcome of overcoming self-defeating
belief systems in humanity and replace them with more rational and confounded
beliefs results into an effective philosophy. In addition, the CBT and REBT are
used in the management of the psychological disorders as indicated in studies
such as (Anderson KG. 227). However, the CBT and REBT; cognitive
theories lay more emphasizes on the manner of ideas and events interpretation.

of the Religion as a Therapeutic Strategy

According to the study by Heinz et al., the
religion as a therapeutic approach applies the basic religious belief systems.

These systems form psychological conditions under which the people are convincingly
introduced to the truth in a suggestion. The beliefs are fundamentally grounded
in religious concepts. The basic religious beliefs are subdivided into three
categories in Religious Cognitive-Emotional Therapy (RCET): “God,
existence and human beings.” Therefore, people loaded with these religious
beliefs are capable of answering every important question about “self,
others, world, God and interactions between them.” When the people get the
answers to their troubling questions, they attain stable and long-lasting hope
and faith towards the universe. In addition, they are able to identify their
purpose and distinguish the purpose of life since they feel articulated to the
existence, thus accept the realities. Such people comprehend the reason for their
living, their behavior code and their objectives in life. Consequently, people
end up living peacefully without aspects of depression and anxiety.

Kersting ‘s research on “Religion and Spirituality in the Treatment Room” suggests that
the basic religious practices such as prayers, religious meditation and other
perspectives of religious relationship build up the individual’s self-care
routine. In case a religious person is seeking treatment, therapist sensitivity
is importantly significant in his/her treatment process since it leads to an
extensive examination of the individual in need of treatment and gives an
opportunity to the therapist to investigate diverse treatment solutions.

Therapists are equipped with the therapeutic techniques and skills founded on
religion, for example, “religion journaling or the forgiveness
protocols” and also are capable of providing individuals in therapy with
references on these topics.

to the Religious Cognitive-Emotional Therapy (RCET)
illustrated by Ellis A., individuals
possess duo-dimensional approach in dealing with the emotions: body and psyche.

The two dimensions form an interactive and intertwined structure where the body
is related to the psyche. Therefore, in religious psychotherapy under the RCET
strategy, psychotherapists ought to integrate the concepts of both
psychological and psychological levels. The psychological actors have a
significant role in various psychological disorders in diverse ways. For
instance, in an anxiety disorder, there are several psychological responses
that take place unconditionally like escalating pulse rate and unpleasant
sensations. Such unconditioned emotional responses can cause classical
conditioning reflex. As indicated by the RCET theoretic framework, the
classical conditioning caused by physical injuries or psychological symptoms
might cause anxiety and related psychological disorders (Beck AT.


Example Religious Therapy

The case example of the application of the
RCET is the grieving religious mother in therapy. After a long struggle with
cancer, Doris mother passes away. Doris, 42, commences therapy for misery
counseling. Doris discloses to the therapist that despite that her mother was a
religious woman, and continually asked her to develop a strong faith in God,
Doris never became religious. The religious contention between Doris and her
late mother continued till when her mother met her demise. The therapist
requested for more information and Doris confirms that she begrudged her
mother’s religiousness, which her mother was forcefully pushing her into.

Doris’s hoes arise when she starts to reconsider that her mother was right
(being religious) therefore, she is secretly afraid she is “in trouble
with God.” Doris’ fear was infringed by her mother’s dying statement that
Doris, “embrace the love of God,” as a result, Doris experiences many
discomforts with respect to her mother’s wish. The therapist successfully helps
Doris to express her worries regarding the mother in the contextual of other
sophisticated sentiments. With the help of a therapist, Doris is capable of
clarifying her personal spiritual beliefs, which doesn’t aim at a specific
religion or higher power but rather is centered in the exploration of the
essential life questions about death, life and her purpose or place in the
world. Finally, the therapist was able to help Doris to accept her inability to
satisfy the death wish of her mother and embrace the normalcy of their diverse
belief systems.


Religious Cognitive Emotional Theory (RCET) illustrates that in case people
have attained physical health, their thoughts, as well as their daily belief
systems, are realistic. Otherwise, such people have no sense of personal
purpose of life as well as the meaning of life. Several questions crisscross
their minds; when they fail to answer such essential life questions; they
cannot possess “healthy emotions, behaviors, and feeling of comfort and
satisfaction in their lives.” Thus, in everyone’s struggle to seek the
meaning of their lives, existence, and God, have to attain the essential life
questions. According to Kersting, (2003), such questions include, “where did we
come from? Why did we come to this world? Where are we going? Who created the
world and existence? Who is God? Who is the creator of existence?” In case
one fails to answer such questions, makes them pursue a meaningless life that
consequently results in identity crisis and confusion.














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Ellis A. Reason and
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Heinz, Adrienne J., et al. “A
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