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Durham University

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Cook, Christopher C.H. (2020). Spirituality, Religion & Mental Health: Exploring the Boundaries. Mental Health, Religion & Culture

Author(s) from Durham


The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SPSIG) of the Royal College of Psychiatrists was established in 1999 in the historical context of increasing research and clinical interest in a more positive understanding of how psychiatry and spirituality/religion (S/R) might work together in addressing common concerns. Since then, SPSIG has made a significant contribution to clarifying the professional boundaries of S/R in psychiatry in debate and in clinical practice. The conceptual boundaries of S/R in relation to psychiatry are complicated by the psychological nature of the terms in which spirituality is usually defined. Religiosity and mental health are also found to have a bidirectional influence upon each other. Acknowledging the conceptual overlap, it is proposed that spiritual and mental wellbeing are both marked by a willingness or ability to be attentive to things that matter.