The faith of the psychiatrist

It has been observed that there is a “religiosity gap” between the psychiatrist and the user of mental health services

Christopher C.H. Cook

2010

Scholarcy highlights

  • It has been observed that there is a “religiosity gap” between the psychiatrist and the user of mental health services
  • Faith might mean a generic kind of spirituality, not linked to any religious tradition
  • This study is of interest by virtue of the attempt to survey the religious affiliation and beliefs of a sample of users of mental health services and their clinicians
  • It would appear that there is evidence that psychiatrists are less likely to identify with a particular faith tradition, or to believe in God, than their patients
  • Where psychiatrist and patient experience no gap, and agree about spiritual or religious matters, the danger may be of collusion in avoiding examination of potentially harmful aspects of shared belief or practice, but the potential benefits of identifying ways in which faith may benefit treatment and recovery are perhaps less likely to be overlooked
  • There is disagreement about spiritual or religious matters, the danger may be of an abuse of the asymmetry of power between psychiatrist and patient in order to undermine the faith of the patient
  • Such consultations offer the potential benefit of constructively critical, and mutually affirming, engagement with the ways in which different spiritual and religious traditions throw light on the patient’s condition and their response to it

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