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

David Hodge, Robin Bonifas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective method for treating many older adults with depression. Efficacy may be enhanced for some clients, however, by modifying cognitive behavioral therapy with beliefs and values drawn from clients' spiritual narratives. Potential enhancements include faster recovery, improved treatment adherence, lower posttreatment relapse, and reduced treatment disparities. In light of the lack of training many gerontological social workers have received on spirituality, this paper orients readers to spiritually modified cognitive behavioral therapy. Toward this end, the research on this modality is reviewed, rationales for its suitability with older adults are provided, the process of constructing spiritually modified cognitive behavioral therapy self-statements with older adults wrestling with depression is illustrated, and ethical guidelines are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-206
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010



  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Depression
  • Older adults
  • Religion
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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