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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 274625, 12 pages
Review Article

Spiritually and Religiously Integrated Group Psychotherapy: A Systematic Literature Review

1Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public Health, SDU, Odense J. B. Winsløwsvej 9B, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
2Clinic and Policlinic for Palliative Medicine, LMU, Marchioninistraße 15, 1377 Munich, Germany
3Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS 2012-14), Stadtstraße 5, 79104, Germany

Received 10 July 2013; Accepted 20 September 2013

Academic Editor: John Swinton

Copyright © 2013 Dorte Toudal Viftrup et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We systematically reviewed the research literature on spiritually and religiously integrated group psychotherapy to answer the following three questions: first, how are spirituality and religiosity defined; second, how are spiritual and religious factors characterized and integrated into group psychotherapy; and, third, what is the outcome of the group psychotherapies? We searched in two databases: PsycINFO and PubMed. Inclusion and exclusion criteria and checklists from standardized assessment tools were applied to the research literature. Qualitative and quantitative papers were included. In total, 8 articles were considered eligible for the review. Findings from the evaluation suggested that the concepts of spirituality and religiosity were poorly conceptualized and the way in which spiritual and religious factors were integrated into such group psychotherapies, which distinguished it from other types of group psychotherapies, was not fully conceptualized or understood either. However, clear and delimited conceptualization of spiritual and religious factors is crucial in order to be able to conclude the direct influences of spiritual or religious factors on outcomes. Implications for spiritually or religiously integrated group psychotherapy and conducting research in this field are propounded.