Journal File

Journal of Psychology and Theology, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Journal File


This section of the Journal attempts to keep readers informed of current resources of an integrative nature or those related to the general field of the psychology of religion appearing in other professional journals. A wide range of psychological and theological journals are surveyed regularly in search of such resources. The editor of the Journal File welcomes correspondence from readers concerning relevant theoretical or research articles in domestic or foreign journals which contribute directly or indirectly to the task and process of integration and to an understanding of the psychology of religion.

MENTAL HEALTH, RELIGION & CULTURE

Raab, K. A. (2007).

Manic depression and religious experience: The use of religion in therapy Vo. 10 (5), 473-487

Raab introduces her article by recounting her first encounter with "manic depression," or bipolar. She goes on to describe the illness, especially noting the common experience of religious themes. For example, during manic or hypomanic episodes, people commonly report religious feelings and mystical experiences. Occasionally, they even feel they are on a divine mission or have received messages from God. Raab notes that while religious beliefs do not cause such mental illness, they do have the potential to help or hinder in coping with it.

Raab advocates for religious professionals providing treatment for bipolar by addressing these religious beliefs and themes when given the opportunity. She describes a number of therapeutic, spiritual strategies, such as offering spiritual resources to assist with coping, assisting clients in discerning adaptive versus maladaptive beliefs, and challenging irrational beliefs. She notes that these strategies should be used with caution. Specifically, professionals must avoid trivializing clients' spirituality, over-stating the importance of their spirituality, and imposing their own values on their clients.

Raab provides a number of case examples which explore these strategies, both revealing successful and less than successful interventions with these clients. She acknowledges that further research is needed in this area to tease out which strategies are helpful in different situations. However, she strongly advocates the need to treat both the spiritual and the psychological as this will likely lead to more total healing of the person.

COUNSELING AND VALUES

Rothaupt, J. W. & Morgan, M. M. (2007).

Counselors' and counselor educators' practice of mindfulness: A qualitative inquiry Vol. 52 (l),40-54

Counselors and therapists are increasingly utilizing the practice of mindfulness in helping clients with a variety of issues. Mindfulness is a Buddhist tradition which involves focused attention on the present, resulting in a heightened state of awareness. In this state, one is instructed to adopt a nonjudgmental attitude to his/her own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Such practices have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, pain, and general psychological distress; they have also been shown to increase physical activity, self-esteem, empathy, spiritual experiences, creativity, and problem-solving.

Given these positive benefits of mindfulness, it is not surprising to find that clinicians are increasingly utilizing this practice as an intervention with clients. Many people believe that clinicians must practice mindfulness themselves in order to authentically and successfully utilize this intervention with clients. In order to help interested clinicians understand how to integrate such practices into their personal and professional lives, Rothaupt and Morgan conducted semi-structured interviews with six clinicians who self-identified as using mindfulness practices. The six participants were all Caucasian; half of them were female. They identified varying spiritual backgrounds and practices, ranging from Buddhist to Judeo-Christian.

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