Forschungsprojekt „Religious diversity and psychotherapy. A mixed method study of English and German psychotherapists”

  • Funding: self-funded
  • Time frame: 2013-2016
  • Project realisation: Marianne Tatschner
  • Supervisor: Prof Dr Anna Auckenthaler

Theoretical Background: Empirical research evidence to date suggests a positive link between religion and health. Increasingly, religious concepts and practices such as mindfulness and meditation are utilised as psychotherapeutic interventions. Recent survey data from Germany suggests that a large number of German psychotherapists feel that their work is influenced by their religious orientation and think that religion should play a larger part in graduate psychotherapy training (Hofmann & Walach, 2011). Yet the question of which role religion could or should play in psychotherapy is a matter of some controversy – not least because the general openness to recognise religion as a relevant issue in psychotherapy varies considerably between countries.

Research Goal: This research project aims for a better understanding of the role of religion in psychotherapy – how therapists address the topic of religion, how their own beliefs impact the way they talk about religion with their clients, what competencies therapists need when dealing with a religiously diverse clientele, how training in these areas could be improved. Since psychotherapy is a highly regulated area in Germany, the project intends to widen the scope by including English as well as German psychotherapists. In the first part of the project, survey data will be collected among English psychotherapists concerning their views on and experiences with religiousness in psychotherapy in order to obtain comparable data for both countries. In the second part of the project, interview data will be collected from both English and German psychotherapists in order to explore the issues mentioned in more detail.

Research Design: The overarching design will be a mixed method design. It combines the quantitative part of the project, which consists of the collection and analysis of survey data among English psychotherapists, with the qualitative part of the project, in which problem-centred interviews (Witzel & Reiter, 2012) will be conducted and analysed.

For further information please contact Marianne Tatschner: