Religion and Coping in Mental Health Care

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

CHAPTER 3

RELIGION IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE:
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS' VIEWS

1. Introduction
In a review of ten years (1984–1994) of research on religion and psychotherapy, Worthington et al. (1996) indicate that since 1986 the interest in religion and counselling has been booming (see also Worthington 1986).As we said in chapter 2, in the last few years in the Netherlands the interest in the relation between meaning, worldview and religion on the one hand and social and mental health care on the other hand, is growing too. First we pointed at a series of recent publications on the topic. Moreover, there were a growing number of conferences on this relation. Furthermore, several documents about policies and strategies for managing these issues in the mental health care institutions have been published.In an earlier publication (Van Uden & Pieper 1996) we have discussed five ways in which psychotherapists may be confronted with religious aspects in their clients' mental problems.
1. Some authors emphasise that excesses in religious socialisation cause or continue mental problems.
2. It is also possible that religious socialisation is conducive to a religion that can function as a healing power. Without religion the mental problems would have been more serious.
3. Thirdly it is also possible that mental problems are on the contrary connected with the absence of religious socialisation. The secularisation process in Western society means that churches and other institutions that used to transmit systems of meaning have lost their influence. Hence, psychotherapists are confronted with clients (especially young people) who experience a loss of meaning and who are not able to frame their life in a comprehensive worldview.
4. In the fourth way the connection goes the other way around: from mental problems to religion. Intrusive life crises, especially those

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