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Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice

Edited by Allan M. Josephson, M.D., and John R. Peteet, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-697-7
  • Item #62697

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This refreshing new work is a practical overview of religious and spiritual issues in psychiatric assessment and treatment. Eleven distinguished contributors assert that everyone has a worldview and that these religious and spiritual variables can be collaborative partners of science, bringing critical insight to assessment and healing to treatment.

Unlike other works in this field, which focus primarily on spiritual experience, this clearly written volume focuses on the cognitive aspects of belief—and how personal worldview affects the behavior of both patient and clinician. Informative case vignettes and discussions illustrate how assessment, formulation, and treatment principles can be incorporated within different worldviews, including practical clinical information on major faith traditions and on atheist and agnostic worldviews.

The book's four main sections give concise yet comprehensive coverage of varying aspects of worldview:

  • Conceptual Foundation—The Introduction explains the significance of worldview and its context in the development of psychiatry; reviews misunderstandings about spirituality and worldview and how they can be resolved in contemporary practice; and discusses Freud's significant influence on psychiatry's approach to religion and spirituality.
  • Clinical Foundations—Three chapters review how clinicians can integrate spiritual and religious perspectives in the basic clinical processes of assessment (gathering a religious or spiritual history); diagnosis and case formulation (including religious and spiritual factors); and treatment (including a review of ethical issues).
  • Patients and Their Traditions—Six chapters discuss Catholic and Protestant Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and secularists (atheists and agnostics), including a brief history, clinical implications of core beliefs, and variations of therapeutic encounters (both where patient and clinician share the same faith and where they do not) for each faith tradition.
  • Worldview and Culture—A concluding chapter reviews issues of a global culture where faiths once rarely encountered in North America are increasingly seen in clinical practice.

This well-organized text sheds much-needed light on an area too often obscure to many clinicians, fostering a balanced integration of religion and spirituality in mental health training and practice. Bridging several disciplines in a novel way, this thought-provoking volume will find a diverse audience among mental health care students, educators, and professionals everywhere who seek to better integrate the religious and spiritual aspects of their patients' lives into assessment and treatment.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • PART I: Conceptual Foundation
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: Definition and Significance of a Worldview
  • PART II: Clinical Foundations
  • Chapter 2. Worldview in Psychiatric Assessment
  • Chapter 3. Worldview in Diagnosis and Case Formulation
  • Chapter 4. Therapeutic Implications of Worldview
  • PART III: Patients and Their Traditions
  • Chapter 5. Protestant Christians
  • Chapter 6. Catholic Christians
  • Chapter 7. Jews
  • Chapter 8. Muslims
  • Chapter 9. Hindus and Buddhists
  • Chapter 10. Atheists and Agnostics
  • PART IV: Worldview and Culture
  • Chapter 11. Worldview in Global Perspective
  • Index


    Yousef Abou-Allaban, M.D.
    Richard L. Grant, M.D.
    David Greenberg, M.D., M.A., M.B., B.Chir., M.R.C.Psych.
    Judith M. Hughes, M.D.
    Allan M. Josephson, M.D.
    Nalini V. Juthani, M.D.
    Armand Nicoli Jr., M.D.
    John R. Peteet, M.D.
    Sy A. Saeed, M.D.
    Mark E. Servis, M.D.
    Samuel B. Thielman, M.D., Ph.D.
    Irving S. Wiesner, M.D.

About the Authors

Allan M. Josephson, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Bingham Child Guidance Center, Professor and Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky

John R. Peteet, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Clinical Director, Psychiatry, Adult Psychosocial Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attending Psychiatrist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Drs. Josephson and Peteet have assembled a collection of essays critical to the practice of psychiatry in a country that is becoming increasingly diverse in spiritual worldviews. Regardless of whether practitioners believe that spirituality plays a role in improving mental health (or aggravating mental illness), few can doubt that practitioners must understand the spiritual context out of which psychiatric symptoms emerge. Some attempts to address this spiritual context (or worldview) reduce spirituality to a construct that can be assessed generically, that is, one size fits all. The authors of these essays, in contrast, speak to the diversity of spiritual worldviews and the need for the psychiatrist to be familiar with this diversity. Though this volume takes a path less traveled, I believe it takes the correct path to achieve the editors' goal—'to understand the place of our own and our patients' worldviews in our clinical work.'—Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., JP Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina

When the students are ready, the teacher will come. The psychiatric community is finally ready to examine carefully our individual and collective spiritual values. With this groundbreaking book, we will begin seeing our spiritual development as a protector rather than a risk factor for a healthy, creative mind.—Richard K. Harding, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina

Drs. Josephson and Peteet bring clarity to a very rarely discussed topic: worldviews are the unacknowledged elephants in the consulting room, silently in the background, shaping every clinical encounter.—Elizabeth S. Bowman, M.D., S.T.M., Private Practice Psychiatrist and Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana

Everyone, including patient and clinician, has a worldview, a philosophy of life, which affects the clinical encounter. This book provides a thoughtful and practical approach for clinicians and trainees to enhance the therapeutic alliance and understand transference-countertransference issues which arise when therapists and clinicians have either the same or different worldviews. In our increasingly multicultural society, this book is an essential roadmap for incorporating worldview and spirituality into our assessment and treatment planning, which will improve our quality of care.—Francis G. Lu, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California

Psychiatrists have long needed a bridge that could connect their worlds of psychobiology and psychotherapy traditions with the spiritualities, religions, and political ideologies that ground the lives of so many of their patients. Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice helps clinicians move from the known to the unknown, from the familiar language of psychodynamic constructs and DSM-IV disorders to patients' religious beliefs and spiritual practices that can also promote therapeutic change. Its chapters provide guidance for assessing a patient's spirituality, as well as tutorials on the specific beliefs for Catholic and Protestant Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and atheists and agnostics.—James L. Griffith, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.

Clinical assessment of the patient's worldview is not for the careless or unprepared. In addition to humility, those who venture into the delicate and daunting forest of the patient's spiritual life need a guide. Josephson, Peteet, and their colleagues have provided such a guide in this finely balanced and clinically rich treatment.—Leigh C. Bishop, M.D., M.A., Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine and Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas

The book is an important step in acknowledging the changing face of psychiatry in America. As psychiatrists (and, indeed, as human beings), we need occasional reminders to ask informed questions and then to listen to the answers. This book provides both the reminder and. . . the information.—The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 6/1/2006

This book could not have appeared ten years ago—it is a tribute to progress in the field of spirituality and health that it appears now. . . . The volume should enable clinicians to adopt a more sympathetic approach to their patients' worldviews, especially if they differ from their own, but a greater self-awareness on the part of the physician is no less important.—The Scientific and Medical Network Review, 6/1/2006

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