• The attitudes of Orthodox Jewish rabbis towards professional mental health services as related to their practice of referrals

      Slanger, Hannah Rachel; Goldmeier, John (1994)
      The purpose of this study is to assess the attitudes of American Orthodox Jewish religious leaders (rabbis) toward therapy and the mental health professions, and to determine the degree to which rabbis urge the utilization of these professionals by their congregants, via referrals. Specifically, this study evaluated demographic, attitudinal, situational, and experiential variables that would account for differences in rabbis' willingness to refer congregants. The first group of research questions dealt with potential demographic antecedents (age, birthplace, secular education) of positive attitudes toward the mental health professions and therapeutic interventions. The second dealt with situational influences, such as size and affluence of a rabbi's congregation. The third dealt with experiences which would familiarize the rabbi with mental health professionals, such as professional and personal interactions. Finally, each of these groups of variables, together with attitudes, were examined as possible predictors of referral behavior. Orthodox rabbis' preference for Orthodox mental health professionals was also a focus. Data were obtained through a questionnaire mailed to the 439 members of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) employed as congregational rabbis. Responses were received from 217 rabbis (49%). Statistical procedures utilized included frequencies, means, Pearson product moment correlation, partial correlation, and multiple regression. Primary results demonstrated that the experiences of interaction with mental health professionals were strong predictors of positive attitudes toward mental health interventions, while demographic and situational differences had little influence. Regarding referral practices, however, there were numerous significant predictors. Generally, younger rabbis with mental health related educational experience were more likely to refer their congregants, as were the rabbis of larger, more affluent congregations. In addition, rabbis with positive attitudes and those who had more interactions with professionals were more likely to refer congregants. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the combined set of predictors accounted for substantial variance in referral practices, and that the experiential variables provided the greatest contribution. Results also showed that Orthodox rabbis prefer Orthodox mental health service providers. Limitations of the study, implications for social work practice, and recommendations for future research are presented. The study is of interest to social work practitioners whose potential clientele are members of ethnic and/or religious minorities, and who wish to achieve rapprochement with communal leaders, so as to provide for optimal access to their services.
    • Forgiveness and psychotherapy

      Stipe, Ann Marie; DiBlasio, Frederick A. (1995)
      Forgiveness as a concept has been examined in the field of religion, philosophy, law, medicine, and the social sciences. In contrast, the literature on forgiveness and its role in psychotherapy is in its developmental infancy. Evidence thus far suggests that forgiveness has a definite impact on clients' individual and relational well being, yet the literature displays gaps in social work research, qualitative research, quantitative research, and generally research investigating the process of forgiveness in any sense. The purpose of this qualitative "grounded theory" field study was to explore psychotherapists' perceptions of forgiveness as it relates to psychotherapy. Fourteen psychotherapists from various out-patient counseling agencies participated. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant in three rounds of data collection. Common themes from each round were identified. The constant comparative method was used to develop the final working hypotheses which eventually became "grounded theory". Spiritual orientation was unanimously identified by psychotherapists as having an impact on their perceptions of forgiveness. Psychotherapists from four spiritual perspectives participated: Unitarian, Jewish, self spirituality with a Christian foundation and traditional Christian orientation. Results indicate there are differences and similarities among psychotherapists of various spiritual orientations. There were similar perspectives regarding definition and agreement that forgiveness is an important process in psychotherapy that results in many benefits for the clients. Examining differences among spiritual orientations resulted in the discovery of a spiritual bias to which all psychotherapists agreed. Psychotherapists from traditional Christian orientation were more likely to use the word "forgiveness" in psychotherapy than those from other perspectives. Psychotherapists identified the connection of forgiveness to Judeo-Christian values as their reason for avoiding the word even though they were facilitating the forgiveness process with clients. This also was offered as the explanation for the paucity in the professional literature. Implications of these findings include recommendations for practice and research. The importance of the forgiveness process in psychotherapy was confirmed. Various components of the forgiveness process are outlined and the practitioner is alerted to possible spiritual bias. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings and to further explore the role of forgiveness in social work practice.