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Title: Religious attitudes and training of mental health professionals - impact on clinical practice - a review (Paper A) ; An exploratory study of spirituality and posttraumatic growth in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (Paper B)
Author: McKay, Cherilyn
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Both mental health professional bodies (e.g. the American Psychology Association) and mental health service users (Faulkner, 1997) have called for greater inclusion of religious and / or spiritual issues in assessment and treatment. This review aimed to examine whether psychologists and psychiatrists in professional training and clinical practice do, as has been reported, display lower levels of religiosity and / or spirituality than population norms with the former group said to be the least religious of all scientists (Bergin, 1980). Sixteen papers met inclusion criteria and were assessed for content and methodology. They supported previous findings that both groups report significantly lower levels of religious and / or spiritual beliefs compared to population norms. It was also found that clinical psychology training courses tended not to offer systematic training in religious / spiritual issues (Brawer et al., 2002). The impact on clinical practice was considered with some psychologists and psychiatrists admitting that they felt unsure about engaging with highly religious and / or spiritual clients due to lack of knowledge and confidence (e.g. Foskett et ai, 2004). However, the majority of respondents in the studies reviewed agreed that religious and / or spiritual issues could be important - and in some cases, beneficial - for good mental health in clients who professed a strong faith and therefore appropriate within the scope of therapy (Shafranske & Malony, 1990). A large number of methodological problems with the papers reviewed, such as design and participant selection, are discussed and ways of addressing empirical issues and future avenues for research are considered. Abstract Despite the growing emphasis on the inclusion of religious and / or spiritual issues in therapy, many mental health service users in the UK report having their religious and / spiritual needs overlooked (Faulkner, 2007). A review of sixteen empirical papers examining the possible reasons behind the reluctance of mental health professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists) found that, far from there being a 'therapeutic' disdain for working with clients expressing religious and / or spiritual needs, many clinicians feel they lack the confidence and knowledge to address these issues adequately. Methodological issues and implications for services are also considered. Religious and / or spiritual factors are said to be associated with post-traumatic growth (PTG: Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995) after a significant traumatic event but there is little mention of either in the traumatic brain injury (TBI) literature. A qualitative Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach was taken in interviewing six individuals who had sustained a TBI more than ten years previously and who also scored highly on the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory and Quest scale of Religiosity were analysed to investigate whether (and if so, how) religious and / or spiritual beliefs contributed to their PTG. Key themes suggest that religious and spiritual ideas develop or are strengthened post-TB I and facilitate acceptance and growth through a reframing of the individual's relationship to life (the self), others and a wider transcendental power. Limitations of the study and implications for rehabilitation services are discussed. Paper B An exploratory study of spirituality and posttraumatic growth in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury Cherilyn McKay Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Hilary 2011 Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is conceptualised as positive change experienced after significant trauma (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996) and has been widely reported in a range of physical and psychological conditions. To date, studies examining the psychosocial sequelae of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have tended to be deficit-focused but recently, studies such as Collicutt-McGrath & Linley, (2006) and Powell, Ekin-Wood and Collin (2007) have suggested that PTG can develop a number of years post- TBI. Religious and / or spiritual beliefs are said to be associated with PTG, in some cases acting as both a mediator for and outcome of growth and development. Using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, transcripts of six individuals who had sustained a TBI more than ten years previously and who also scored highly on the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory and Quest scale of Religiosity were analysed to investigate whether (and if so, how) religious and / or spiritual beliefs contributed to their PTG. The following key themes were found: (i) struggling towards 'life' recovery, (ii) religious / spiritual strengthening, (iii) making sense of survival (with subthemes of 'surviving for a reason, 'positively revaluating life', 'regaining personal agency', 'giving back', 'looking outwards') and (lv) growing through adversity. Analysis of participants' narratives suggest that religious and spiritual ideas develop or are strengthened post-TB I and facilitate acceptance and growth through a reframing of the individual's relationship to life (the self), others and a wider transcendental power. Limitations of the study and implications for rehabilitation services are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.556188  DOI: Not available
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