Ethical Considerations at the Intersection of Psychiatry and Religion

ISBN : 9780190681968

John R. Peteet; Mary Lynn Dell; Wai Lun Alan Fung
288 Pages
178 x 254 mm
Pub date
Jan 2018
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Psychiatry and religion/spirituality (R/S) share an interest in human flourishing, a concern with beliefs and values, and an appreciation for community. Yet historical tensions between science and religion continue to impede dialogue, leaving clinicians uncertain about how to approach ethical questions arising between them. When are religious practices such as scrupulosity disordered? What distinguishes healthy from unhealthy religion? How should a therapist approach a patient's existential, moral or spiritual distress? What should clinicians do with patients' R/S convictions about faith healing, same-sex relationships, or obligations to others?

Discussions of psychiatric ethics have traditionally emphasized widely accepted principles, generally admired virtues, and cultural competence. Relatively little attention has been devoted to the ways that R/S inform the values of patients and their clinicians, shape preferred virtues, and interact with culture.

Ethical Considerations at the Intersection of Psychiatry and Religion aims to give mental health professionals a conceptual framework for understanding the role of R/S in ethical decision-making and serve as practical guidance for approaching challenging cases. Part I addresses general considerations, including the basis of therapeutic values in a pluralistic context, the nature of theological and psychiatric ethics, spiritual issues arising in diagnosis and treatment, unhealthy and harmful uses of religion, and practical implications of personal spirituality. Part II examines how these considerations apply in specific contexts: inpatient and outpatient, consultation-liaison, child and adolescent, geriatric, disability, forensic, community, international, addiction and disaster and emergency psychiatry, as well as in the work of religious professionals, ethics committees, psychiatric education, and research.

Thick descriptions of case examples analyzed using the framework of Jonson and Winslow show the clinical relevance of understanding the contributions of religion and spirituality to patient preferences, quality of life, decision making, and effective treatment.


1. Introduction; John R. Peteet, M.D., Mary Lynn Dell, M.D., D.Min. and Wai Lun Alan Fung, M.D., ScD, FRCPC; Part One: General Considerations; 2. Values and Pluralism in Psychiatry; John R. Peteet, M.D.; 3. Theological Ethics Relevant to Mental Health and Psychiatry: An Overview; Daniel Grossoehme, M.Div., D.Min. and Mary Lynn Dell, M.D., D.Min.; 4. Ethical Issues Related to Religious Considerations in Psychiatric Diagnosis; Allan M. Josephson, M.D. ; 5. Unhealthy and Potentially Harmful Uses of Religion; James Griffith, M.D. and Gina Magyar-Russell, Ph.D.; 6. Spiritual and Religious Concerns Presenting in Psychiatric Treatment; Len Sperry, M.D., Ph.D.; 7. The Role of Religious Professionals in Ethical Decision Making in Mental Health; Nancy Kehoe, R.S.C.J., Ph.D.; 8. Ethics Committees and Consultation in Mental Health; Don C. Postema, Ph.D.; 9. Practical Implications of Personal Spirituality; James Lomax, M.D. and Nathan Carlin, Ph.D.; Part Two: Specific Clinical Contexts ; 10. Outpatient Psychiatry; Morgan M. Medlock, M.D., M.Div. and David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., ABPP; 11. Inpatient Psychiatry; Shad S. Ali, M.D. and Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D., M.T.S.; 12. Religious/Spiritual Aspects of Ethical Dilemmas in C/L Psychiatry; Marta Herschkopf, M.D. and John Peteet, M.D.; 13. Addiction Psychiatry; Christopher C. H. Cook, M.B. B. S., M.D., M.A., Ph. D., Eilish Gilvarry, M.B., M.Ch., B.A.O. and Andrea Hearn, B.Sc. (hons), Ph.D., M.B. B.S.; 14. Geriatric and End of Life Psychiatry; John R. Peteet, MD; 15. Ethics, Religion, and Spirituality in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Carol Kessler, M.D., M.Div. and Mary Lynn Dell, M.D., D.Min.; 16. Spirituality, Ethics, and People with Intellectual Disabilities; William Gaventa, M.Div., and Mary Lynn Dell, M.D., D.Min.; 17. Mental Disorder and Transformation: Perspectives from Community Psychiatry; Tony Benning, M.D.; 18. International Perspectives on Ethical Issues in Religion and Psychiatry; Walid Sarhan, M.B.B.S., FRCPsych and Wai Lun Alan Fung, M.D., ScD, FRCPC; 19. Ethical Considerations for Mental Health Providers Responding to Disasters and Emergencies; Samuel B. Thielman, M.D., Ph.D. and Glenn Goss, D.S.W.; 20. Forensic Psychiatry; Michael A. Norko M.D., M.A.R. ; 21. Ethical Considerations Regarding Religion/spirituality in Psychiatric Research; Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D., Quirino Cordeiro, M.D., Ph.D., and Harold G. Koenig, M.D., M.H.Sc ; 22. Psychiatric Education; Gerrit Glas, M.D., M.A., Ph.D.

About the author: 

John R. Peteet, M.D Associate Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School; Mary Lynn Dell, M.D., D.Min. Director of Psychosomatic Medicine Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Pediatrics Nationwide Children's Hospital The Ohio State University; Wai Lun Alan Fung, M.D., Sc.D., FRCPC Medical Director of Research Chair of Research Ethics Board North York General Hospital University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

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