Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatric Practice in New Zealand

An Exploratory Study of New Zealand Psychiatrists


  • Wyatt Butcher New Zealand Healthcare Chaplains Association




research, psychiatric practice, religion, spirituality


This research conducted in New Zealand, sought to identify psychiatrists’ attitudes and practice with regard to religious and spiritual issues in mental health. The research extends upon previous work exploring more broadly the attitudes of physicians regarding religion, spirituality and medicine (Curlin, Lawrence, et al. 2007). An online survey was developed and advertised in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists on-line newsletter. Nearly one fifth of all registered psychiatrists in New Zealand participated in the survey. In overall terms the opinions and attitudes of respondents regarding religion/spirituality and its importance in mental health care were found to be mixed. This study suggests, however, that in New Zealand ethnicity is the single most significant factor that determines a psychiatrist’s opinion and practice with respect to religion and spirituality. Research limitations are noted as are suggestions for future research.

Author Biography

Wyatt Butcher, New Zealand Healthcare Chaplains Association

Revd Wyatt Butcher, BCom, BMin, DipTchg, MHSc, is a mental health chaplain working within Specialist Mental Health Services of the Canterbury District Health Board since 2003. He is currently the Associate President of the New Zealand Healthcare Chaplains Association. Butcher is a registered Baptist minister and is continuing to study and research in the areas of religion spirituality and health, with an emphasis on mental health.


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How to Cite

Butcher, W. (2015). Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatric Practice in New Zealand: An Exploratory Study of New Zealand Psychiatrists. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 3(2), 176-190. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.v3i2.26544



Research Article