Spirituality and Mental Health

By Verghese, Abraham | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, October-December 2008 | Go to article overview

Spirituality and Mental Health


Verghese, Abraham, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: Abraham. Verghese

Introduction

All along, the majority position of Psychiatry has been that Psychiatry has nothing to do with religion and spirituality. Religious beliefs and practices have long been thought to have a pathological basis, and psychiatrists over a century have understood them in this light. Religion was considered as a symptom of mental illness. Jean Charcot and Sigmund Freud linked religion with neurosis. DSM3 portrayed religion negatively by suggesting that religious and spiritual experiences are examples of psychopathology. But recent research reports strongly suggest that to many patients, religion and spirituality are resources that help them to cope with the stresses in life, including those of their illness. Many psychiatrists now believe that religion and spirituality are important in the life of their patients. The importance of spirituality in mental health is now widely accepted. As John Turbott[sup] [1] puts it, rapprochement between religion and psychiatry is essential for psychiatric practice to be effective. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, has a special group on Psychiatry and Spirituality. The American College of Graduate Medical Education mandates in its special requirements for residency training in Psychiatry, that all programs must provide training in religious and spiritual factors that can influence mental health. The World Psychiatric Association recently established a section on psychiatry and religion. Lukoff et al .[sup] [2] proposed that the diagnostic entities of religious and psychospiritual problems should be incorporated in DSM4 which has been accepted. DSM4, V 62.89 includes three categories-normal religious and spiritual experiences; religious and spiritual problems leading to mental disturbances; and mental disturbances with a religious and spiritual context. I understand that the Indian Psychiatric Society has formed a task force on spirituality and mental health which is urging the Medical council of India to include taking the spiritual history as part of psychiatric evaluation. Even so the importance of religion and spirituality are not sufficiently recognized by the psychiatric community. Religion does not have a place in most of the psychiatry text books. Only very few psychiatrists make use of religion and spirituality in the therapeutic situation.

This paper makes an attempt to bring out the importance of spirituality in mental health.

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a globally acknowledged concept. It involves belief and obedience to an all powerful force usually called God, who controls the universe and the destiny of man. It involves the ways in which people fulfill what they hold to be the purpose of their lives, a search for the meaning of life and a sense of connectedness to the universe. The universality of spirituality extends across creed and culture. At the same time, spirituality is very much personal and unique to each person. It is a sacred realm of human experience. Spirituality produces in man qualities such as love, honesty, patience, tolerance, compassion, a sense of detachment, faith, and hope. Of late, there are some reports which suggest that some areas of the brain, mainly the nondominant one, are involved in the appreciation and fulfillment of spiritual values and experiences.[sup] [3],[4],[5]

Spirituality and Religion

Religion is institutionized spirituality. Thus, there are several religions having different sets of beliefs, traditions, and doctrines. They have different types of community-based worship programs. Spirituality is the common factor in all these religions. It is possible that religions can lose their spirituality when they become institutions of oppression instead of agents of goodwill, peace and harmony. They can become divisive instead of unifying. History will tell us that this had happened from time to time. It has been said that more blood has been shed in the cause of religion than any other cause.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spirituality and Mental Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.