Date of Completion
Religion, Therapeutic Alliance, New England, Social Work Education, Religiosity
Nina Rovinelli Heller
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
The profession of Social Work has moved far from its religious roots. The secularization of the profession and society as a whole has left religious persons who enter secular treatment as a minority population, particularly in the more secular parts of America such as the New England region. This study of 330 clinical social workers in New England explored their knowledge, education and attitude towards religion, as well as the incorporation of religion into clinical practice, in order to determine impacts upon the therapeutic alliance built with religious clients. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of survey data and narrative responses demonstrate that the majority of clinical social workers in New England engage in positive therapeutic alliance building with religious clients. Additionally, the therapeutic alliance with religious clients is strengthened by education regarding specific intake and treatment tools with which to incorporate a religious client’s faith into the treatment process, as well as social worker acquisition of specific knowledge about the diversity of religious traditions and perspectives. The strengthening of the therapeutic alliance will increase the probability of a positive treatment outcome with religious clients.
Keane, Denise L. Jaillet, "The Intersection of Secular Individual Therapy and Religious Beliefs: What is the Impact on the Therapeutic Alliance?" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 2428.