Over the past few months, we’ve been talking about the benefits of incorporating faith into therapy sessions for depression and anxiety. We’re ending our series talking about the benefits of incorporating faith into the healing journey following traumatic experiences. Mental and emotional trauma, like physical injury, leaves a mark. We may not be able to see the damage like we can with a bruise, cut, or burn, but we can certainly feel the wound left behind by traumatic experiences. Like healing the body, people process internal healing differently, and that’s okay. If you find yourself struggling to heal from a traumatic experience, therapy can be an important resource. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) ways that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors connect to and impact each other. By taking steps to change one of these areas, we may see an impact on all three. The beauty of CBT is its versatility. Different ways of using CBT have been developed to expand and enhance the benefits of this therapeutic style. Religiously-integrated CBT is one of these modified forms of CBT. It has proven effective in addressing trauma recovery in a variety of ways, but one of the most important reasons that religiously-integrated CBT is considered for trauma recovery is to help heal moral injuries related to trauma. In this blog, we’ll discuss what religiously-integrated CBT is and how it can be used to support trauma healing and recovery.
What Is Religiously-Integrated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Religiously-integrated cognitive behavioral therapy (RCBT) is an approach to therapy that combines the traditional CBT approach with elements of religion and/or spirituality. CBT on its own considers the person as three-legged stool supported by their thoughts, feelings, and actions. When aligned, these three aspects offer of a person’s character provide them with balance and stability. RCBT may offer an even greater amount of stability by adding spiritual expression as the fourth leg of the stool. A traditional CBT session encourages the person to consider their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to a specific subject. By making a small change to one of these areas, it ripples out and impacts the other two. By adding in spiritual exploration, the individual may begin to develop a greater sense of how their existence and choices are part of a greater community. For those who practice a specific religion, this may be part of that specific group of people, but for those who do not subscribe to a specific set of religious beliefs and practices, exploration of larger, existential questions can be explored to engage with many of the same spiritual elements found in religion.
How Does RCBT Help People Heal Following Trauma?
Specifically, RCBT may encourage the exploration of morality. Following a traumatic experience, people may hold what is called a moral injury. Moral injuries occur when our expectations for ourselves and other people are damaged by a traumatic event. For instance, when witnessing or surviving an act of violence, our moral belief that people should be treated with dignity and respect is damaged. Moral injuries in general make it more difficult to trust or see the good in other people. It’s no surprise that this sense of distrust can make it difficult to open up and begin healing during therapy session. Through RCBT, clients can begin healing moral injuries, so they feel more comfortable talking with a therapist on their trauma recovery journey. RCBT can also create a greater sense of general purpose, meaning, and connection to the wider world.
Schedule a Therapy Session at the Center for CBT in New York City
Whether you’d like to learn more about RCBT, traditional CBT, or any of our other therapy services, please don’t hesitate to contact the Center for CBT in New York City. We look forward to hearing from you soon.