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Religion and spirituality in clinical practice

  • Christopher C. H. Cook

Summary

Spirituality and religion have assumed importance in psychiatric practice in recent years because of both a growing evidence base and the desire of patients that such matters should be better addressed as an aspect of their care. However, there has been controversy regarding interpretation of the evidence base and issues of good practice, notably about defining appropriate professional boundaries. A sensitive and patient-focused clinical enquiry is therefore needed to discover whether and how spiritual/religious concerns are important to patients and, if they are, how they might most appropriately be addressed in treatment. Many of the concerns of patients and professionals regarding spirituality overlap with the recovery agenda and so are easily addressed implicitly and without need to impose the language of spirituality or religion. However, for some patients, transcendent concerns that are not a part of this agenda are easily overlooked.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor Christopher C. H. Cook, Department of Theology & Religion, Durham University, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3QR, UK. Email: c.c.h.cook@durham.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Learning Objectives

Understand the basic nature of the concepts of spirituality and religion and their relevance to clinical practice in psychiatry Be aware of the key arguments in the current debate concerning spirituality and religion in clinical practice and the corresponding implications for good psychiatric practice Know how to take a spiritual history

Declaration of Interest

None

Readers might also be interested in the recent CPD Online learning module ‘Exploring spirituality with people who use mental health services' by Sarah Eagger and Sumudu Ferdinando (www.psychiatrycpd.co.uk/learningmodules/exploringspiritualitywithpe.aspx). Ed.

Footnotes

References

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Religion and spirituality in clinical practice

  • Christopher C. H. Cook
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