Although religious concerns are generally not clients' primary presenting problems in secular therapists' practices, religious beliefs and values can have a strong influence on clients' behavior and clinical progress. For this reason, knowledge about religion and its impact can be useful in intervention work.
Three case studies illustrate how sociology of religion can be a substantive resource in clinical sociology and sociological practice. In this paper, religion is defined as a belief system of denominational, sectarian or secular values which explains natural and supernatural phenomena.
As the concept of a supreme being is central in most Western belief systems, the three clients' perceptions of their relationships with a supreme being are examined. Clients' concepts of God are used to demonstrate the process by which clinical strategies can increase the meaningfulness of clients' choices of secular and religious values and their awareness of the consequences of holding specific beliefs for their everyday behavior.
The three clinical examples are based on life history data of contrasting patterns of behavior resulting from individual allegiances to different religious belief systems. These contrasts are summarized as patterns of "Deference/Fatalism," "Self as Equal to God," and "Copartner with Powerful God." It is proposed that sociology of religion can effectively inform principles and strategies for clinical intervention, as well as strengthen and enrich basic propositions of clinical sociology.
Hall, C. Margaret
"Clinical Sociology and Religion,"
Clinical Sociology Review:
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/csr/vol9/iss1/8