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Title: The sacred, supernatural and spiritual : views and experiences of faith leaders and clinical psychologists concerning religion, spirituality and mental health
Author: Joseph, Nadia E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 7853
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2014
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Existing research suggest that individuals with mental health (MH) problems and faith-based beliefs are more likely to seek faith leaders (FLs) as a first point of contact rather than MH professionals. However, current knowledge about the extent and role of faith based organisations’ (FBO) involvement in MH care and help-seeking is limited and an area seldom explored (Leavey, Dura-Vila & King, 2012). At present there is little data relating to the Mental Health Service (MHS) and FBO relationship including referral patterns and views of FLs towards MHS (Dein, Lewis, & Lowenthal, 2011). The aims of this study were to understand and explore the views and conceptualisations of London based FLs and UK Clinical Psychologists concerning the relationship between MH and religion and spirituality. It also sought to explore the role and extent of FLs and CPs involvement in MH care with someone with spiritual/religious beliefs, and the experiences and views of FLs and CPs concerning FBO-MHS collaboration. The study employed qualitative methodology using semi-structured interviews with five CPs and ten Christian FLs. Interview data was analysed using a Thematic Analysis within a critical realist epistemology. Three superordinate themes pertaining to CPs’ accounts were developed: ‘making sense of religion and spirituality in the context of MH’, ‘faith talk’, and ‘partnering with FBOs’. Four superordinate themes emerged in relation to FLs, which captured explanatory models of MH, FLs’ practices and roles in MH care, their views and experience of FBO-MHS relationship, and ways to improve FBO relationship with MHS. Consistent with previous findings were MH practitioners’ fear of initiating faith talk and FLs feeling ill-equipped in MH care. The study also highlighted new findings, which include compatible and complementary conceptualisations of MH among FLs that map onto mainstream psychological explanations. Limitations of the present study are discussed, and recommendations and implications relating to clinical practice, teaching and training, mental health services, policies, and research are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral