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Psychiatrists, spirituality and religion

  • Rob Poole (a1), Christopher C. H. Cook (a2) and Robert Higgo (a3)
Summary

The consensus within psychiatry is that patients' religion/spirituality are legitimate topics in assessment and treatment. Religion/spirituality can help people cope with mental illness, but their use as therapeutic tools is controversial. Despite the publication of position statements by national and international psychiatric organisations, there is no clarity over therapeutic boundaries.

Declaration of interest

R.P. and R.H. are atheists. C.C.H.C. is an ordained Anglican and a past Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Rob Poole, Centre for Mental Health and Society, Academic Unit, Technology park, Croesnewydd Road Wrexham, Wales LL13 7YP, UK. Email: rob.poole@wales.nhs.uk
References
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1Cook, CCH, Powell, A, Sims, A (eds). Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice: Stories of Mind and Soul. Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2016.
2Culliford, L. The Psychology of Spirituality: An Introduction. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010.
3Poole, R, Higgo, R, Strong, G, Kennedy, G, Ruben, S, Barnes, R, et al. Religion, psychiatry and professional boundaries. Psychiatr Bull 2008; 32: 356–7.
4Royal College of Psychiatrists. CR180. Vulnerable Patients, Safe Doctors: Good Practice in Clinical Relationships (2nd ed.). Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2013.
5Poole, R, Cook, CCH. Praying with a patient constitutes a breach of professional boundaries in psychiatric practice. Br J Psychiatry 2011; 199: 94–8.
6Royal College of Psychiatrists. Recommendations for Psychiatrists on Spirituality and Religion, Position Statement PS03/2013. Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2013.
7Moreira-Almeida, A, Sharma, A, Van Rensburg, BJ, Verhagen, PJ, Cook, CCH. WPA position statement on spirituality and religion in psychiatry. World Psychiatry 2016; 15: 87–8.
8Cook, CCH. Spirituality and religion in psychiatry: the impact of policy. Ment Health Relig Cult 2017; 20(6): 589–94.
9Persaud, A, Dein, S, Willis, J, Lashley, M, Bhui, K, Thapliyal, A, et al. CAREIF Global Position Statement Religion and Spirituality in Mental Health Care. Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International Foundation, 2017 (https://careif.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/CAREIF-Global-Position-Statement-Religion-and-Spirituality-in-Mental-Health-Care.pdf).
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Psychiatrists, spirituality and religion

  • Rob Poole (a1), Christopher C. H. Cook (a2) and Robert Higgo (a3)
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