Project Bridges is a research study investigating what is happening, week to week, in spiritually integrated couple therapy. Spiritual integration could be explicit (praying in sessions as a couple, reading Scriptures, practicing forgiveness, etc.) or it could be implicit (using spirituality on my own without discussing it in sessions). We want to know about both. This research question has never been properly examined.
Our project is one of 20 research studies funded by the Templeton Foundation, through a grant administrated by BYU, at a variety of settings, such as Wake Forest Hospital, McClean Hospital of Harvard Medical School, Denver University, and University of Toronto. We are grateful to Templeton Foundation and BYU for funding our research.
Summer and Fall 2018: Recruit new clinicians and begin couples study
Spring- Fall 2019: Continue and complete couples study
Spring 2020: Analyze results and present them at aconference and in publication (all data is anonymous and in aggregate form)
Jennifer S. Ripley, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Regent University. She is the director and clinical supervisor of the MMATE Center at Regent University, which operates a “couples clinic” where, over the past ten years, over 500 couples have received religiously accommodative couple therapy and dozens of graduate students have received extensive training. She has published dozens of articles, 2 books, and almost 100 presentations with specific expertise in religion and couple therapy. She was the recipient of over $300,000 is grant funding to implement couple counseling through churches in China, funded by Templeton Foundation, and the Moffitt Family Foundation, with successful outcomes. She has special interest and abilities in using digital media as a means for training and informing the public of principles of healthy marriages congruent with religious virtues. Her role is principal investigator and director.
Everett L. Worthington, Jr. Ph.D. is the Commonwealth Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, the highest distinction granted the Board of Trustees. Worthington is nationally recognized as an expert in religion, forgiveness and couples interventions with over 35 books, 400 articles, and thousands of presentations, and has been an investigator on 27 grants (worth millions of dollars). He was the director of the Templeton forgiveness campaign that has had a major social influence throughout the world. As a co-investigator, trainer, and consultant in the project, he brings a gravitas to the team.
Vanessa Kent, Ph.D. is the Assistant Clinical Director at LifeCare Counseling and Coaching, the sponsoring agency and a research site. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with over twenty years of clinical experience providing spiritually integrative therapy for individuals, couples, and families. She manages the internship program at LifeCare and provides supervision for students and counselor associates. She is a recent graduate of Regent University, where she received her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision, integrating faith, counseling, and supervision practices. Vanessa has two publication and dozens of presentations relevant to spirituality in mental health. She has been a frequent speaker on topics of relationships, marriage, and parenting at churches and community agencies.
Elizabeth Loewer is the Research Director for Project Bridges. With experience in research at Wheaton College and Regent University, Elizabeth brings a wealth of training and abilities in conducting research. She is also a psychologist in training at Regent University's APAaccredited doctoral program in Clinical Psychology.