Black Churches as Therapeutic Systems: A Group Process Perspective

Mary B. McRae, Patricia M. Carey, Roxanna Anderson-Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines Black churches as therapeutic systems that provide psychological and physical support to African American communities. Systems theory and group relations theory are used as conceptual frameworks to discuss Black churches as indigenous community resources. Instrumental to a systems approach is an understanding of Black churches and the religious experiences they support as part of a dynamic process that may vary across churches while maintaining certain basic similarities. It is also important to explore how Black churches may function differently from one another in addressing the needs of their membership and surrounding community. Consequently, a group process perspective is used to examine how roles and functions of the church may vary as they relate to their particular congregation. Examining the role of Black churches as supportive networks provides invaluable information to professional health providers who are interested in working with Black churches as community-based organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-789
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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