RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHIATRY
Keywords:mental health, spirituality, religion, psychiatry, spiritual illness
A psychiatrist reflects upon his long experience of the complex interaction between religion and psychiatry. Although committed to the advances brought by the bio medical approach to illness, he identifies a widespread neglect of the Spiritual in mental health care, which belies its claim to be truly holistic. The article discusses the concept of spiritual illness and the limits of psychiatry, and then poses the question whether religious belief is good for a person’s mental health. In his conclusion the author, himself a Christian, underlines the need for psychiatry to have the fullest possible understanding of the patient’s world view, and that this will necessarily involve a consideration of the importance of the Spiritual.
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