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Spirituality in psychiatry.

Sims, A. and Cook, C. C. H. (2009) 'Spirituality in psychiatry.', in Spirituality and psychiatry. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists, pp. 1-15.


Within British psychiatry, the notion of linking spirituality with psychiatry is largely a 21st century one. What follows is the first attempt of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists to put their heads together, metaphorically and constructively, and produce a book representing both their diverse views and shared vision for better psychiatric practice. Is the result a manifesto or a shop-front; a confession of our differences or a statement of our common beliefs? We will leave the reader to answer those questions. Our first intended readership is the mental health community, including ‘service users’ and carers, voluntary helpers and mental health professionals of all disciplines in the United Kingdom and overseas. Our secondary readership, we would hope, would be all those others who are interested in and concerned with mental illness. We share a belief that an aspiration towards the common good of improved mental health and treatment of mental illness in our communities is a worthy one, and that it is therefore also worth striving to turn this aspiration into a reality. Spirituality, including its psychological association, is relevant for all psychiatrists, not as an add-on to our already overcrowded curriculum but as an idea ‘at the back of one’s mind’, and sometimes coming further forward! It is not to be forgotten, permeating every part of psychiatry and forming the underlying worldview from which one practises. If the psychiatrist remembers to incorporate spiritual values into her clinical practice, this will lead to asking the patient a few pertinent questions, and hence the relevance of a spiritual history that assesses needs in this area.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:This is an author-produced electronic version of a chapter published in ' Spirituality and psychiatry' by The Royal College of Psychiatrists. This publication is available from
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:21 March 2013
Date of first online publication:June 2009
Date first made open access:No date available

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