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         Mental Illness
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‘Out of the depths


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(Part 2 - Continued from previous page)


A large proportion of surveys examining religious involvement and mental health have found that religious people experience better mental health and adapt to stress more successfully than those who are not religious,[25]. This is particularly true among older adults where disability and depression have been found to be inversely proportional to religious commitment [26] and where religion is more likely to be used as a coping strategy. Traditionally the mental health system has encouraged dependency, regarding patients as ‘passive recipients of treatment rather than as active agents in the recovery processes.[27] However the intersection of religion and coping has recently been identified as an important area for scientific investigation.[28] Despite the relative lack of empirical evidence on the role of spirituality in the lives of severely mentally ill individuals, research on religious coping has shown faith to be a method individuals use to regain control of their lives.[29] The nature of religious coping styles and their effect on recovery has been investigated recently.[30] Various approaches to religious coping with adversity have been identified.[31] The collaborative style reflects the joint responsibility for problem solving by God and the individual, while the deferring style implies placing all responsibility for problem solving on God whilst passively waiting to receive solutions. Coping strategies which involve collaboration with God have been seen as the most consistent with an active pursuit of recovery and an empowered stance, whereas exclusive reliance on one’s own coping resources may be a detriment to recovery.[32] Rather than being passive coping strategies, religious faith and service participation are associated with a higher sense of personal empowerment and greater adherence to various components of recovery.[33]Empirical studies to date have their limitations as they are primarily based on self-report[34] and phenomenology[35] (understanding and interpreting experiences).Clearly, though, the approach to a patient’s care needs to be holistic, treating patients as beings who are more than the sum of their parts. If we are all made in the likeness and image of God, then the hope of wholeness must be open to us all, not just those who can be ‘cured’. The whole of life is embraced in who God is and the hope which Jesus Christ gives us for the future. Pointing to that hope is the pastoral carer’s role and the psychiatric patients that I visited showed that, despite their personal difficulties, they were able to gain access to that hope through prayer and the ministry of accompaniment offered by a pastoral carer.


The Reverend Ian Morrison is currently Assistant Curate at St George’s Anglican Church, Malvern.

Australian Journal of Pastoral Care and Health Vol. 2, No.2, December 2008


REFERENCES


[1] It has no interest in the possibility of the illness resulting from factors in individual psychosocial histories – an ideology of the mind – psychoanalytical (Freud), humanist (Maslow) or analytical (Jung).


[2] Sutherland, Mark (2000). ‘Towards Dialogue: An Exploration of the Relations between Psychiatry and Religion in Contemporary Health’ in James Woodward and Stephen Pattison (eds), The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, p. 275.


[3] Wilding, Clare, Muir-Cochrane, Eimear & May, Esther (2006). ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 15: 144.


[4] Rowland, S. (1997). ‘Spirituality and psychosocial rehabilitation: What the research literature says’, New Paradigm, August 1997: 7, and Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 149.


[5] Sutherland, p. 273


[6] Pattison, Stephen (1997). Pastoral Care and Liberation Theology, London: SPCK, 1997 cited inSutherland, ‘Towards Dialogue: … Psychiatry and Religion in Mental Health’, p. 274.


[7] Mohr, Wanda K. (2006).‘Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Care’, Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, Philadelphia: 42(3): 174.


[8] Koenig, Harold G. (2005). Faith & Mental Health: Religious Resources for Healing, Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.


[9] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 146.


[10] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 147.


[11] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 150.


[12] Grossoehme, Daniel H. (2001).‘Self-reported Value of Spiritual Issues Among Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatients’, Journal of Pastoral Care, Summer 2001, 55(2): 139, 141.


[13]Meadows, G. (2001). ‘Spirituality and Mental Health Practice’ in G. Meadows (ed.), Mental Health in Australia, South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p. 40 and Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 150.


[14] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 150. [15] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 151.


[16] Amerling, A. ‘An Ancient Healing Practice Becomes New Again’, Holistic Nursing Practice, 14(3): 42.


[17] Mohr, ‘Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Care’, p. 180.


[18] Mohr, ‘Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Care’, p. 179.


[19] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 151. [20] Mohr, ‘Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Care’,p. 182.


[21] Markstrom, Carol A. (1999). ‘Religious Involvement and Adolescent Psychosocial Development’, Journal of Adolescence, 22: 205-21.


[22] Grossoehme, ‘Self-reported Value…’, p. 144. [23] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p. 150.


[24] Turbott, John (2004). ‘Religion, spirituality and psychiatry: steps towards rapprochement’, Australian Psychiatry, June 2004, 12(2): 145.


[25] Mohr, ‘Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Care’, p.176 and Koenig, Faith & Mental Health: Religious Resources for Healing:.


[26] Koenig, Harold G., George, Linda K. & Peterson, Bercedis L. (1998). ‘Religiosity and Remission of Depression in Medically Ill Older Patients’, The American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1998, 155(4), p. 536 and Harold G. Koenig et al.(1992), ‘Religious Coping and Depression Among Elderly, Hospitalised Medically Ill Men’, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Dec 1992, 149, p.1693.


[27] Heinssen, R. K. et al. ‘Client as colleague: Therapeutic contracting with the seriously mentally ill’, American Psychologist, 50(7): 522.

[28] Pargament, K. (1997). The Psychology of Religion and coping: Theory, Research and Practice, New York: The Guilford Press.


[29] Rogers, Steven A. et al. ‘Religious Coping Among Those with Persistent Mental Illness’, The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 12(3): 170.


[30] Yangarber-Hicks, Natalia (2004). ‘Religious Coping Styles and Recovery from Serious Mental Illness’, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Winter 2004, 32:4, 305-17.


[31] Pargament, K. et al. (1988). ‘Religion and Problem-solving: Three styles of coping’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1988, 27(1), 90-104 and Pargament et al .(1990), ‘God help me: Religious coping efforts as predictors of the outcomes to negative life events’, American Journal of Community Psychology, 1990, 18(6), 793-824.


[32] Yangarber-Hicks, ‘Religious Coping Styles and Recovery from Serious Mental Illness’, p. 313.


[33] Yangarber-Hicks, ‘Religious Coping Styles and Recovery from Serious Mental Illness’, p. 314.


[34] Yangarber-Hicks, ‘Religious Coping Styles and Recovery from Serious Mental Illness’, p. 316 and Grossoehme, ‘Self-reported Value of Spiritual Issues Among Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatients’,p. 139.


[35] Wilding, ‘Treading Lightly: Spirituality issues in Mental Health’, p.145.

Australian Journal of Pastoral Care and Health Vol. 2, No.2, December 2008