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Training in medical family therapy: Spirituality & the BPSS model

Emilee J Delbridge, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Spirituality has been identified as one of the four key dimensions of the biopsychosocial-spiritual (BPSS) model. The overall goal of this study was to explore how family therapy faculty members from nine different training sites across the United States addressed the spiritual dimension in the training and supervision of students and trainees. Individual interviews were conducted with twelve faculty members from nine different training sites across the United States via phone or Voice-over Internet Protocol technology. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes regarding training with a focus on spirituality. Additionally, curriculum documents, such as syllabi, were collected in order to determine whether spirituality was identified in those materials. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis in order to identify the themes regarding how the faculty addressed spirituality, as a dimension of the BPSS model, in their curriculum. The results indicated that faculty participants addressed spirituality in courses and supervision to varying degrees. Many participants reported unique and site-specific methods of teaching the BPSS model, which often included addressing spirituality. Possibly due to the fact that MedFT is an emerging field, it was evident that there was a lack of agreement in terms of how spirituality should be taught. Recommendations are discussed below that would result in training sites that have a more rigorous inclusion of and assessments of the spirituality dimension of the BPSS model than currently exist.

Subject Area

School counseling|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Delbridge, Emilee J, "Training in medical family therapy: Spirituality & the BPSS model" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3590974.