Conducting a Randomized Controlled Trial in Spiritually Integrated Mental Health Care

Abstract

There are comparatively few randomized controlled trials of spiritually integrated psychotherapy. As a result, many methods questions, such as selecting outcome measures, control conditions, and types of therapists, required independent and innovative consideration. This case report shares our efforts to empirically test a manualized, spiritually integrated group therapy protocol targeting post-traumatic stress disorder and moral injury/spiritual distress in military service members and veterans. We confronted multiple methodological challenges, including (a) identifying, hiring, training, and supervising chaplains in a research setting; (b) providing an ethically, therapeutically, and methodologically sound control condition; and (c) finding measures for moral injury as an outcome when ideal measures had not yet been developed.

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