College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Treating Scrupulosity in Religious Individuals Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2010

Publication Title

Cognitive and Behavioral Practice

ISSN

1077-7229

Volume

17

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

Scrupulosity, the obsessional fear of thinking or behaving immorally or against one's religious beliefs, is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that has been relatively understudied to date. Treating religious patients with scrupulosity raises a number of unique clinical challenges for many clinicians. For example, how does one distinguish normal beliefs from pathological scrupulosity? How does one adapt exposures to a religious patient whose fears are related to sinning? How far should one go in exposures in such cases? How and when does one include clergy in treatment? We address these issues and report a case example of the successful treatment of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman using the treatment principles that we recommend for religious individuals with scrupulosity.

DOI

10.1016/j.cbpra.2009.07.003