The Ethics of Sharing Religious Faith in Psychotherapy

Volume 12
Spring 1984
The Ethics of Sharing Religious Faith in Psychotherapy

Classical psychoanalysis has stated that religion is a delusion, a view not shared by the majority of the American public. If religion is a delusion, then to share a delusion with a patient or to impose a delusional belief system on a patient would constitute unethical behavior on the part of the therapist. The authors believe that Christianity is not a delusion; therefore, to share the Christian faith with a patient whose ethical belief system is the same as the therapist'€™s is ethical if the patient has indicated a willingness to explore this area of life. The issue of sharing the Christian faith with patients is discussed from a therapeutic and ethical perspective. It is concluded that if therapists are addressing problems that would be aided by spiritual interventions, if they are working within the patient'€™s belief systems, and if they have carefully defined the treatment contract to include spiritual interventions, then it is ethical to share their faith.

Dr. A.A. Nelson and Dr. W.P. Wilson
15 - 23
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