Does a therapist’s world view matter?

While past research indicates that mental health professionals are less religious than the public they serve, little is known about the implications of therapists’ world views for their practice.

In this study, approximately 50 therapists completed surveys that assessed self-identification in relation to spirituality, religion, and/or world view; how relevant they considered their patients’ and their own world views; and responses to clinical vignettes involving issues arising in treatment.

While a minority considered themselves religious, a majority indicated that they considered themselves moderately or very spiritual. When asked how they would respond to a series of clinical vignettes involving topics such as assisted suicide and encouraging the use of spiritual resources, responses varied significantly by world view.

Respondents endorsed several factors limiting the integration of religion/spiritualities/world views into their clinical work. These data raise questions about how to further explore the clinical relevance of the therapist’s world view.