Why Do Psychiatrists Neglect Religion?

Maudsley Hospital, London, UK.
British Journal of Medical Psychology 07/1995; 68 ( Pt 2)(2):169-78. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8341.1995.tb01823.x
Source: PubMed


This paper analyses a number of possible reasons why modern psychiatry has neglected the therapeutic effects of religious beliefs. The gap which exists between psychiatry and religion is a relatively recent phenomenon and is partly related to psychiatry's progress in elucidating the biological and psychological causes of mental illness, rendering religious explanations superfluous. In addition, it is often assumed that religious attitudes are inevitably linked with phenomena such as dependence and guilt which are frequently seen as undesirable. Psychiatrists and psychologists tend to be less religiously orientated than their patients, which may further increase the professional's idea that religious beliefs are associated with disturbance. However, it has long been suspected that a positive relation exists between religion and mental health, and recently, the psychology of religion has provided empirical support for this idea. Psychiatry faces the challenge to accommodate this evidence into theory and practice.

31 Reads
  • Source
    • "Clergy often rely on mental health and counseling literature available to the public, rather than formalized training, to guide their pastoral counseling (Bruns et al.). Unfortunately, clergy and social workers rarely collaborate and refer clients to one another (Blank, Mahmond, Fox, & Guterbock, 2002; Neeleman & Persaud, 1995; Thomas, 2012). Clergy reported being more confident in approaching general practitioners over mental health professionals regarding common mental health problems or challenges (Foskett et al., 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study explores the relationship of personal and organizational characteristics, along with symptoms of depression, and clergy compassion fatigue, burnout, and potential for compassion satisfaction. Ninety-five clergy from a cluster of Lutheran churches in the Mid-Atlantic United States completed anonymous surveys. Results suggested that clergy were at low risk for burnout and moderate risk for compassion fatigue and they had a moderate potential for compassion satisfaction. Results further revealed that years in service and reported depression significantly predicted burnout. The model did not predict risk for compassion fatigue. Similarities and differences between social workers and clergy are discussed, with recommendations for collaboration and support between the two professions.
    Journal of Social Service Research 12/2012; 394(4):455-468744627. DOI:10.1080/01488376.2012.744627 · 0.44 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "By the end of the 20th century, this negative attitude towards religion had impacted the personal views of many psychologists and psychiatrists themselves. Surveys during this period found that from 57% to 74% of psychologists [8] [9] and from 24% to 75% of psychiatrists [10] [11] [12] did not believe in God, compared to only 4% in the general US population [13]. This pathological view of religion had even become institutionalized as part of the psychiatric nomenclature. "

    Depression research and treatment 09/2012; 2012:298056. DOI:10.1155/2012/298056
  • Source
    • "On the other hand, credible studies indicating health benefits with religion/spirituality have been published in a range of clinical journals: (Neeleman & Persaud, 1995; Bradley, 1995; Idler & Karl, 1997; Koenig et al, 1997; Ortega et al., 1983). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background:Spiritual history is generally ignored during a routine psychiatric assessment. Even if some people broach the subject, it is in the context of delusions or as manifestations of psychopathology (Somerset Spirituality project). There is glaring lack of awareness about the importance of this aspect in our patients lives. The current project was an attempt to address this issue. Methods We undertook a cross sectional survey in the whole trust to find out the proportion of psychiatrists who assess the impact of spirituality on their patient’s life. Results The survey revealed that 50% of the psychiatrists take a spiritual history or discuss the impact of spirituality on their patient’s lives. Conclusion The study identified a need for raising awareness about taking a spiritual history and the tools for doing so. Several factors were also identified which might hinder the psychiatrists from incorporating this in the routine assessment.
Show more

Similar Publications