Religion and Coping in Mental Health Care

By Joseph Pieper; Marinus Van Uden | Go to book overview
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1. Introduction

In the study reported below, the concepts 'worldview' and 'religion' have been defined as follows. 'Worldview' refers to the whole of values, standards and ideas people use when thinking of the meaning and purpose of life. We speak of 'religion' when these values, standards and ideas, as a whole or in part, derive from an existing religious institution (for instance Roman Catholicism or Protestantism). For most people who have participated in our study, their worldview is a religious one.

In the last years in the Netherlands the interest for the relation between worldview and religion on the one hand and social and mental health care on the other hand is growing. Firstly, we can point at a series of publications about this topic (Bauduin 1991; Den Draak & Kleingeld 1991; Kerssemakers 1989; Molenkamp 1994; Schilder & Schippers 1990; Vellenga 1992). Secondly, there are a growing number of conferences featuring this relation (Filius & Visch 1991; Visch 1991). Thirdly, a number of documents about policies and strategies for managing these issues in mental health care institutions have been published (Easton 1990; Riagg en Religie 1991).

In the discussion (and from now on we will focus on the regional community mental health care institutions in the Netherlands, called Riagg) two central premises are found. In the first place one agrees that religion and worldview could and should have a prominent place in many psychotherapeutic interventions. The physical, emotional, behavioural and social problems that the client brings in, are often related to their systems of meaning and their religious attitudes. In the second place, at the same time psychotherapists are being accused of neglecting this dimension. Some authors, in particular those who are close to the humanistic tradition, are especially concerned about neglecting worldview in general (Dijkhuis & Mooren 1988). Others, in


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