Clinical approaches to addressing spiritual struggle in veterans with PTSD

Michelle Sherman, J. Irene Harris, Christopher R Erbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Trauma survivors often face difficult spiritual challenges as they attempt to reconcile the experience of trauma with their spiritual/religious beliefs. Spirituality has been found to be associated with a range of indices of well-being, and it is a component of many clients' coping skills and treatment strategies. However, many clinicians do not routinely assess or incorporate this domain of functioning in psychological services. This article describes a model for conceptualizing how trauma can impact spirituality by reviewing the possible consequences of each posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom cluster on clients' belief systems and spiritual practices. Specific implications for treatment are described for each symptom cluster. A case study highlights many of the spirituality issues and intervention options described in this model. Ethical issues surrounding addressing spiritual factors in trauma survivors are considered, and clinicians are encouraged to further explore this domain with their clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.


  • Mental health treatment
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Spirituality
  • Trauma
  • Veterans


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical approaches to addressing spiritual struggle in veterans with PTSD'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this