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Holistic psychiatry

  • Christopher C. H. Cook (a1), Rob Poole (a2) and Robert Higgo (a3)
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Abstract
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Crossley, DR. Holistic psychiatry without the whole self. Psychiatrist 2012; 36: 97100.
2 Cook, CCH. Self-belief: holistic psychiatry in a secular age. Commentary on … Holistic psychiatry without the whole self. Psychiatrist 2012; 36: 101–3.
3 Poole, R, Higgo, R, Strong, G, Kennedy, G, Ruben, S, Barnes, R, et al. Religion, psychiatry and professional boundaries. Psychiatr Bull 2008; 32: 356–7.
4 Cook, C, Powell, A, Sims, A (esd) Spirituality and Psychiatry. RCPsych Publications, 2009.
5 Poole, R, Higgo, R. Clinical Skills in Psychiatric Treatment. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Holistic psychiatry

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

Welcome indications of an emerging paradigm shift

Larry Culliford, Psychiatrist & Author
26 June 2012

This letter (1) and the one preceding it (2) appear to mark the emergence of an important shift towards an 'holistic' or 'psycho-spiritual' paradigm for psychiatry (3,4).

Caroline Cooper says most reported research is focused on, 'objectivestudies', the subjective experience of patients being poorly represented in three journals with high 'impact factors', rated also according to 'theproportion of psychiatrists reading them'.

More to the point here might be the numbers of psychiatrists who do not read such material, or do so only cursorily to dismiss it as unreadable, uninteresting and irrelevant to their working lives. The subjective experiences of other human beings are surely more likely to be read, being naturally and intrinsically engaging.

The question also arises, 'How are research topics and methods to be chosen?' Arguably, a broad, holistic approach will yield fewer sterile avenues of enquiry, giving rise to more useful and relevant written reports with greater impact and appeal. (5)

The letter from Chris Cook, Rob Poole and Robert Higgo is remarkable for providing an actual demonstration of holistic thinking in operation. This 'both/and' style contrasts with the 'either/or' approach of hitherto dominant 'dualist' thought processes. Setting out apparently opposing sides in the debate about the place of spirituality/religion in psychiatry, they offer readers an excellent opportunity to acknowledge that a mature view would incorporate aspects of the argument from both sides.

There is now no reason for anyone to stand on the sidelines of this significant discussion. The drawbacks of conflict and stalemate have been avoided by the spirit of co-operation shown in this letter by these authors, who are to be congratulated. This is how to make progress in important debates, preserving the respect of all parties. An Anglican priest, an atheist and a Buddhist - all esteemed psychiatrists - have herewith shown us the way.

References:1. Cook CH, Poole R, & Higgo R, Holistic psychiatry. Psychiatrist 2012; 36: 235-6.2. Cooper CS, The role of holistic, patient-centred research. Psychiatrist2012; 36: 235.3. Culliford L, Taking a spiritual history. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 2007; 13, 212-219.4. Culliford L, The psychology of spirituality: an introduction. 2011, London; Jessica Kingsley.5. Swinton J, Spirituality and mental health care: rediscovering a forgotten dimension. 2001, London; Jessica Kingsley.

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Conflict of interest: A person of faith, nominally Christian, LC writes about spirituality and health, including mental health.

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