Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: Developing mental health services which are accessible and acceptable to those from minority backgrounds continues to be a priority. In the United Kingdom, individuals who identify with a religion are underrepresented in Talking Therapies services as compared to those with no religion. This necessitates an understanding of how therapy is perceived. This online study explored the impact of explicitly acknowledging religion on anticipated alliance, treatment credibility and expectations of therapy in a non-clinical sample of British Muslims. METHODS: A video-vignette experimental design was used in which participants who self-reported as either high or low in religiosity were randomly allocated to receiving information about cognitive behavioural therapy either with or without an explicit mention of religion as a value in the therapeutic process. RESULTS: One hundred twenty-nine British Muslim adults aged 18-70+ years from various ethnic backgrounds participated in the study. Between-subjects ANOVAs showed that scores on the perceived credibility of therapy and treatment expectations were significantly higher when religion was explicitly mentioned by the 'therapist', but that acknowledging religion did not impact upon anticipated alliance. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that mentioning religion as a value to be considered in therapy has some positive impacts upon how therapy is perceived by British Muslims. Although video vignettes do not provide insight into the complexity of actual therapeutic encounters, acknowledging religion in mental health services more broadly remains an important consideration for improving equity of access and may bear relevance to other minoritized groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Clin Psychol

Publication Date



CBT, Muslim, credibility, expectancy, therapeutic alliance, therapy