Religion and Coping in Mental Health Care

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

CHAPTER 4

PSYCHOTHERAPY AND RELIGIOUS
PROBLEMS
ILLUSTRATION BY MEANS OF A CASE
HISTORY

In the Netherlands, religion and mental health care have grown apart in the process of secularisation. Nowadays however, one can witness a growing need among counsellors and psychotherapists to be educated in the areas of religion, meaning giving and worldviews (Van der Lans et al. 1993; Raaijmakers 1994). That religion has returned to the focus of attention, can also be concluded from the fact that in a recent version of the diagnostic bible, the DSM IV, a separate code (code: V 62.89) has been included for religious or spiritual problems (Lukoff et al. 1992). The case history of a patient with an obsessive-compulsive disorder that we will present, is meant as a contribution to this educational process. We will show how important it is to look at the religious frame of reference of a patient and how this can be managed in psychotherapeutic treatment. The case will be positioned within the theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism (Mead 1934).


1. Theoretical notions

According to George Herbert Mead (1934), the self develops in a process of role taking: in interactions, individuals assume the roles, or perspectives, of the other, and evaluate their own behaviour 'through the eyes of the other'. By taking the perspective of the other person, people become self-conscious. They learn to reflect upon themselves as objects. The part of themselves of which people are conscious, is the 'me'; it comprises several self-other systems, corresponding to the important relationships in the different areas of their environments. In this process the individual can take the role of a specific other or of a generalised other. The generalised other represents a group to which

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