Religious coping and cancer: Proposing an acceptance and commitment therapy approach
SourceCognitive and Behavioral Practice
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A cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult diagnoses for any person to receive and cope with. Numerous individuals turn to religion or their spiritual beliefs to find meaning through the process of coping with such a serious illness. Therefore, in recent years research on religious coping has received increased attention. The aim of the present paper is to examine the area of religious coping, along with its dimensions and ways to assess it, as it relates to cancer. Moreover, this paper presents a relatively new approach to the psychological treatment of individuals with cancer. Namely, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a spiritually and religiously sensitive treatment. This approach aims to first explore a person's values (including spiritual and religious values), to subsequently help the person accept any experience that the person has no control over in light of these values, and to then commit and take actions consistent with these values. Recent evidence providing initial support for this approach is discussed. Finally, a case example is presented to illustrate how ACT may be carried out to address religious coping in outpatient clinical practice with cancer patients. © 2010.