Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Students' Satisfaction with Training Regarding Religion and Spirituality

S. N. McNeil, Thomas W. Pavkov, Lorna L. Hecker, J. Mark Killmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marriage and family therapists are likely to encounter religious or spiritual clients in their career and thus are encouraged to be aware of their clients' religious and spirituality. This awareness is often fostered within graduate training programs. This study aims to examine graduate students' incorporation of religion and spirituality in therapy and their satisfaction with the quality and amount of training programs' adherence to religion and spirituality. A sample of 135 graduate students from American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy accredited programs completed the survey. Findings showed that graduate students with greater levels of religiosity and spirituality were more likely to perceive it important to address religion/spirituality in therapy and to perceive there is a need for religious/spiritual education. When controlling for religious and spiritual orientations, overall regression results revealed that not having a course on religion and spirituality and perceiving a need for religious/spirituality in education predicted lower satisfaction with the amount and quality of current training surrounding these dimensions. Implications demonstrate the need to address religious/spiritual concepts in the curriculum, supervision, and in marriage and family therapy training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-480
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Family Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Family therapy education
  • Religion
  • Satisfaction with education
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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