Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Psychology, Clinical-Community

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Brian Vandenberg, Ph.D.


Brian Vandenberg, Ph.D. (Chair)

Ann Steffen, Ph.D.

Matthew Taylor, Ph.D.

Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D.


Religious beliefs are an important part of daily life for many individuals; however, these beliefs are often not discussed in therapy settings. As a result, clients and clinicians may encounter barriers to treatment and be unable to harness potentially beneficial aspects of the religious belief system. The current study investigated factors influencing client willingness to discuss religious beliefs with a therapist, with the factors of interest being perceived clinician cultural humility (PCH), religious outlier status (ROS), and religious commitment (RC). Participants in the current study (N = 535) completed measures assessing RC and ROS and viewed a five-minute clip depicting a therapy session in which the clinician was either high or low in cultural humility. They then rated their perceptions of clinician cultural humility and their willingness to discuss religious beliefs with the therapist depicted in the clip. It was predicted that PCH, ROS, and RC would each separately predict willingness to discuss and would significantly contribute to a full three-factor regression model. PCH was expected to be the strongest predictor in the full model, and significant interactions were expected between PCH and ROS and between PCH and RC. Results demonstrated that PCH and ROS significantly predicted willingness to discuss when considered separately, while RC did not. In the full model, PCH was both the strongest predictor and the only significant predictor, accounting for 36% of the variance in willingness to discuss. These results emphasize the importance of clinician cultural humility in establishing an open therapeutic environment. Moreover, they suggest that clients are more willing to discuss their religious beliefs with a clinician who is high in cultural humility than one who is not, regardless of more stable client factors such as religious commitment and religious outlier status. These findings have implications for training and clinical practice, as they suggest that cultural humility may be more important than cultural competence in some therapy situations, particularly when working with religious clients.