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Religious Beliefs in Treatment of Depression

Psychiatrist Dr. Susan Turner maintains a private practice in New York City's Flatiron district, where she treats patients with depression and other mental illnesses. Dr. Susan Turner is committed to acknowledging the spiritual and religious backgrounds of clients, for whom faith can be a key element of recovery.

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, the incorporation of patients' religious beliefs in treatment may aid in the success of depression recovery. The study followed 132 patients with chronic illness and major depression, all of whom reported that religion played at least a marginally significant role in their lives. Participants received either traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or a modified form of the therapy that incorporated their religious or spiritual beliefs.

In religiously informed CBT, experienced clinicians drew on patients' beliefs to identify and address maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors. Final data revealed similar improvement for both groups in patients' depression ratings and self-reported experience of symptoms. However, those with stronger religious beliefs did report better results from religiously informed CBT as compared to the standard form of the therapy.

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