CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION
A TRAINING MODEL
In this chapter we will present part of a course in “Clinical Psychology of Religion”, that has been developed in the Netherlands with the aim of introducing mental health professionals to the field of the clinical psychology of religion. Clinical psychology of religion aims at applying insights from general psychology of religion to the field of clinical psychology. Clinical psychology of religion can be defined as that part of the psychology of religion that deals with the relation between religion, worldview and mental health. Like the clinical psychologist, the clinical psychologist of religion deals with psychological assessment and psychotherapy, but concentrates on the role religion or worldview play in mental health problems. In recent research (see chapter 3) we have found that there is a great need among psychotherapists to become better equipped in this area.
In a review of ten years (1984–1994) of research regarding religion and psychotherapy, Worthington et al. (1996) indicate that, since 1986, the interest in religion and counselling has been booming. In the last few years in the Netherlands the interest in the relation between meaning giving, worldview and religion on the one hand, and social and mental health care on the other, is growing too.
What does this mean for the practice of mental health care in the Netherlands? As we said in chapter 2 there is agreement that religion and worldview could and should have a prominent place in many psychotherapeutic interventions. The physical, emotional, behavioural and social problems that clients bring in, are often related to their systems of meaning and to their religious attitudes. At the same time, psychotherapists are being accused of neglecting this dimension. Some authors, in particular those who are close to the Protestant tradi-