Department of Educational Psychology



Dena M. Abbott

Date of this Version



Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 52:5 (2021), pp. 470–476.

doi: 10.1037/pro0000392


Copyright © 2021 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


In extant literature related to the integration of religion/spirituality (R/S) in psychotherapy, nonreligious clients are often excluded or briefly mentioned. Further, few theoretical frameworks supporting recommendations for intervention with or for conceptualization of nonreligious clients’ unique experiences and presenting concerns are offered. The present article summarizes psychotherapy-relevant scholarship related to nonreligious people in the United States and offers recommendations for intervention using a Relational-Cultural Therapy approach. In addition to increasing awareness of systemic oppression, resilience, and potential clinical needs of nonreligious clients, the article proposes concrete strategies for addressing structural inequity that disadvantages nonreligious people through conceptualization of such experiences as relevant to clients’ presenting concerns, interventions that honor clients’ nonreligious identities, and use of the therapeutic relationship to decrease nonreligious clients’ distress by fostering connection.