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Chapter 15 - The Patient Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2022

Christopher C. H. Cook
Affiliation:
Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Andrew Powell
Affiliation:
Formerly Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford
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Summary

This chapter explores the ways in which mental health patients experience spirituality, based on case studies of patients and emerging data from an ongoing study in Birmingham, UK. Psychiatric patients commonly experience spirituality/religion as an awareness of something beyond their physical senses that is of great importance to them. Many turn to spirituality when they become unwell, deriving great strength from it, and for most patients it is closely linked with recovery. However, spirituality does not always have a positive impact, and spiritual struggles can increase mental distress. Spirituality thus has a major influence on mental well-being and recovery. Spiritual care aims to overcome spiritual problems and maximise the benefits of spirituality. It involves finding the right person to help each individual and is very popular with patients. Many patients also want to talk about their spirituality with clinicians and have their spiritual needs addressed as part of clinical treatment.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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