Spirituality in Psychiatry

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 7145

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Center for Integrative Psychiatry-Lentis, 9725 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
2. Faculty Religion, Culture and Society, University of Groningen, 9712 CP Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: spirituality; meditation; mindfulness; compassion; integrative medicine; lifestyle change

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Guest Editor
Lentis Resident Training Program and Lentis Research, 9725 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: disorder; spirituality; meditation; mindfulness; integrative medicine

Special Issue Information

Purpose, which can also be denotes as meaning or spirituality, constitutes the invisible force behind the choices and efforts we make as human beings (Nilson, 2013) and is therefore crucial in achieving lifestyle and treatment goals in mental health care. However, the subject is rarely explicitly addressed in mental health care, remaining therefore the proverbial elephant in the consulting room. Care providers often feel inadequately equipped to engage in this conversation and therefore rarely do so, even though patients would often prefer an alternative outcome or approach. Professionals also tend to be less religious than their patients, a phenomenon which is known as the 'religiosity gap' (Nieuw Amerongen, 2018; Ouwehand et al., 2019). Another factor is that scientists, policymakers, and doctors often do not see meaning/spirituality as an indicator for health (Huber 2011).

However, in recent years, in the Netherlands and other countries, policymakers and scientists have increasingly paid attention to meaning and lifestyle (ZonMw, 2011, 2014, 2016; National Prevention Agreement 2018/2022; Integrated Care Agreement 2022; AKWA guideline 2023). The World Psychiatric Association’s position paper on spirituality (2016) has been instrumental to advancing this. The increased interest is also related to secularization, changes in healthcare systems, new healthcare visions (e.g. positive health (Huber 2011) and the results of research. For example, spirituality as a lifestyle factor appears to be related to physical health (Aftab et al. 2020), mental health (Bonelli & Koenig, 2013), longevity (Alimujiang et al. 2019) and quality of life (Vitorino et al. 2018). Spirituality may also be protective against the onset of psychopathological issues (Steger, 2022). Meta-analyses of interventions studies (RCTs) have shown significant improvements in stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction (Goncalves et al., 2015; Kadri et al. 2020), but the findings are inconclusive. These studies also primarily concern themselves with institutional religion and less with the ways in which religion or spirituality is experienced personally (lived religion) and or with other philosophies of life and existential themes in general. Many questions remain about the role of spirituality in mental healthcare, both for patients and for professionals. This Special Issue of Religions aims to answer some of these questions, placing an emphasis on the ways to address spirituality, spiritual interventions, the spirituality of patients and their healthcare providers, existential and transcendental themes, psychedelics and altered states of consciousness (ASC), and a variety of other relevant topics in this field.

Dear Colleagues,

Purpose, which may also be describes as meaning or spirituality, comprises the invisible force behind the choices and efforts we make as human beings and is therefore crucial in achieving lifestyle and treatment goals in mental health care. However, the subject has rarely been explicitly addressed in mental health care. It is therefore the proverbial elephant in the consulting room. Care providers often feel inadequately equipped to engage in this conversation and therefore rarely do so, even though patients would like it to be otherwise.

This Special Issue of Religions aims to answer questions about spirituality and the onset and course of psychopathology, as well as the role of spirituality in mental healthcare for both patients and for professionals.

I am pleased to invite researchers in relevant areas to submit manuscripts on (but which is not limited to) the following topics:

The ways of addressing spirituality, spiritual intervention, spirituality of patients and their healthcare providers, existential and transcendental themes, psychedelics and altered states of consciousness (ASC). Original research, reviews, case reports and essays are welcomed.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Rogier Hoenders
Dr. Bennard Doornbos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • purpose
  • meaning
  • spirituality
  • religion
  • psychopathology
  • psychiatry
  • existential
  • transcendence
  • psyche-delics
  • ASC
  • coping

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 225 KiB  
Article
Hope during Crises: A Thematic Analysis of a Podcast on Hope in Amsterdam during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Erik Olsman and Rosaliene Israël
Religions 2024, 15(5), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050556 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 560
Abstract
While crises, like pandemics, have a negative impact on mental health, hope may affect it positively. However, hope during COVID-19 has hardly been explored. In this study, we explored the hope of interviewees in a podcast on hope in Amsterdam during the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
While crises, like pandemics, have a negative impact on mental health, hope may affect it positively. However, hope during COVID-19 has hardly been explored. In this study, we explored the hope of interviewees in a podcast on hope in Amsterdam during the COVID-19 pandemic, which sought variations in the gender, spiritual backgrounds, and places of work of the interviewees. Underpinned by hermeneutic phenomenology, we thematically analyzed the six transcribed episodes. We found that the present was sketched as closed down, while hope related to (the potential of) spaces and the future opening up. Sources of hope were the vaccine, good weather, faith and trust, and the history of Amsterdam, which was characterized by resilience. Several participants appreciated their everyday life in a new way: COVID-19 made them slow down and aware of what really mattered, which was a source of hope. Frequently mentioned sources of hope were connections with others, and especially solidarity. Also, showing solidarity was identified as a way of offering hope to others. We conclude that both in our study and in several religions, the link between hope and solidarity is common, and that hope is a spiritual topic that is worth addressing in mental health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
23 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Translation and Validation of the Dutch Version of the Spiritual Care Competence Questionnaire (SCCQ-NL)
by Merel Schoot, Agna A. Bartels-Velthuis, Daniela Rodrigues Recchia, Eckhard Frick, Arndt Büssing and Rogier Hoenders
Religions 2024, 15(4), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040496 - 18 Apr 2024
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Abstract
The importance of spirituality in the treatment of mental illness is increasingly acknowledged, but mental healthcare professionals often feel they lack specific competence. An instrument is missing to quantify the spiritual care competence of mental healthcare professionals in the Netherlands. The aim of [...] Read more.
The importance of spirituality in the treatment of mental illness is increasingly acknowledged, but mental healthcare professionals often feel they lack specific competence. An instrument is missing to quantify the spiritual care competence of mental healthcare professionals in the Netherlands. The aim of this study was thus to translate the Spiritual Care Competence Questionnaire (SCCQ) into Dutch and validate it for use in mental healthcare. After translation, the SCCQ-NL was distributed in a cross-sectional design among 3497 healthcare professionals in two mental healthcare institutions (MHIs) in the Netherlands. In the sample of 730 completed questionnaires, exploratory factor analysis revealed seven factors: perception of spiritual needs competencies, team spirit, spiritual self-awareness, documentation competencies, empowerment and proactive opening competencies, knowledge about other religions, and conversation competencies. One item was deleted during the process. Internal consistency for the 25-item SCCQ-NL subscales is sufficient with Cronbach’s alpha ranging from 0.64 to 0.81. Conversation competencies and perception of spiritual needs scored highest in the sample, next to knowledge about other religions and empowerment competencies, while spiritual self-awareness, team spirit and documentation competencies scored the lowest. Small but significant differences in several subscale scores were found for profession, identifying oneself as a believer, practicing prayer and/or meditation, age and working years. The SCCQ-NL can be used for the assessment of spiritual care competencies and for the planning and evaluation of training and improvement strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
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13 pages, 614 KiB  
Article
Introduction of Spiritual Psychotherapy for Inpatient, Residential, and Intensive Treatment (SPIRIT) in The Netherlands: Translation and Adaptation of a Psychotherapy Protocol for Mental Health Care
by Joke C. van Nieuw Amerongen, Eva Ouwehand, Nienke de Graaf, Linda van Parijs, Hanneke Schaap-Jonker, Arjan W. Braam, Peter J. Verhagen, David H. Rosmarin and Bart van den Brink
Religions 2024, 15(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030253 - 20 Feb 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
The perceived value of the integration of spirituality and religion (SR) in mental health care is growing. This study aimed to adapt an SR intervention developed in the USA (SPIRIT) for use in the Netherlands and to explore its applicability. Employing a participatory [...] Read more.
The perceived value of the integration of spirituality and religion (SR) in mental health care is growing. This study aimed to adapt an SR intervention developed in the USA (SPIRIT) for use in the Netherlands and to explore its applicability. Employing a participatory practice-based action research design, professionals, clients, and an advisory board collaborated in iterative cycles of translation, adaptation, discussion, and testing. The ongoing interfaith dialog during the adaptation process broadened the perspectives incorporated into the existing handouts. We added the term “meaning” (M) alongside SR to accommodate patients who do not identify with religion or spirituality. Additionally, several handouts were added to the original protocol: autonomy, responsibility, and liberty; loneliness and belonging; inspiring persons in the past and present; and grief and loss. Moreover, the existing handout on sacred verses was expanded to encompass versions from various outlooks on life: philosophical/humanistic, Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu. Finally, layout modifications and diverse exercise formats were introduced. A qualitative examination revealed that the adapted SPIRIT protocol was well received by professionals and patients, and quantitative studies on its applicability and usefulness are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
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0 pages, 715 KiB  
Article
Spirituality as a Predictor of Well-Being, Mental Distress or Both: A Four-Week Follow-Up Study in a Sample of Dutch and Belgian Adults
by Thijs Huijs, Arjan W. Braam, Renske Kruizinga, Nele Jacobs, Jennifer Reijnders and Marianne Simons
Religions 2024, 15(2), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020179 - 31 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1021 | Correction
Abstract
In general, studies of spirituality show positive associations with measures of well-being, but less is known about the possible role of mental distress in this association. Following the two-continua model of mental health, the current quantitative four-week follow-up study examines how spirituality is [...] Read more.
In general, studies of spirituality show positive associations with measures of well-being, but less is known about the possible role of mental distress in this association. Following the two-continua model of mental health, the current quantitative four-week follow-up study examines how spirituality is associated with well-being and mental distress. Spirituality is measured using the Spirituality Attitude and Interest List questionnaire (SAIL), well-being by the Dutch Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHCSF-SF), and mental distress by the Symptom Questionnaire (SQ-48). At baseline, 874 adults from the Netherlands and Belgium completed the online questionnaire; four weeks later, 560 participants completed the follow-up questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses showed that spirituality at baseline, and in particular the subscale on ‘meaning in life,’ predicted higher well-being scores at follow-up after adjustment for baseline well-being scores. Spirituality also predicted changes in mental distress scores, in particular on the subscales of trust and transcendent experience. However, these associations were in opposite directions. Trust was associated with a small decrease in mental distress over time and transcendent experience was associated with a small increase in mental distress over time. The results confirm the importance of meaning in life, trust, and transcendent experience as elements of mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
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Review

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12 pages, 289 KiB  
Review
Spirituality as a Therapeutic Approach for Severe Mental Illness: Insights from Neural Networks
by Henderikus Knegtering, Richard Bruggeman and Symen Kornelis Spoelstra
Religions 2024, 15(4), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040489 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
This article explores the link between spirituality/religiosity and mental health from a clinical and neuroscience perspective, taking into account the advancements in neuroimaging. Specifically, it examines how spirituality influences the treatment of mental illness, emphasizing the importance of neuronal networks in cognitive and [...] Read more.
This article explores the link between spirituality/religiosity and mental health from a clinical and neuroscience perspective, taking into account the advancements in neuroimaging. Specifically, it examines how spirituality influences the treatment of mental illness, emphasizing the importance of neuronal networks in cognitive and emotional processes, with a focus on the default mode network (DMN) of the brain. The discussion explores the role of spirituality/religiosity in managing mental disorders and how alterations in the DMN may provide insight into the impact of spirituality/religiosity on mental health. By also discussing spiritual and non-spiritual meditation, as well as spiritual experiences facilitated by the use of psychedelics in psychiatry and the associated brain networks, we aim to elaborate on the importance and limitations of spirituality within psychiatry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
20 pages, 336 KiB  
Review
Religious Experiences in the Context of Bipolar Disorder: Serious Pathology and/or Genuine Spirituality? A Narrative Review against the Background of the Literature about Bipolar Disorder and Religion
by Eva Ouwehand
Religions 2024, 15(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030274 - 23 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Literature about bipolar disorder and religion is scarce and primarily encompasses studies with a quantitative design. Results of such studies do not lead to unambiguous conclusions about the relation between bipolar disorder and religion that could be applied in clinical practice. The main [...] Read more.
Literature about bipolar disorder and religion is scarce and primarily encompasses studies with a quantitative design. Results of such studies do not lead to unambiguous conclusions about the relation between bipolar disorder and religion that could be applied in clinical practice. The main focus of this article will be on the domain of religious experiences/religious delusions and hallucinations as explored in two recent PhD studies regarding mixed methods and qualitative research, conducted in the Netherlands and in Canada. In the narrative review of the two studies, the occurrence of different types of religious experiences and various explanatory models of patients to interpret them are presented. The interpretation of religious experiences, often related to mania, proves to be an intense quest, and often a struggle for many patients, whereby fluctuations in mood, course of the illness, religious or philosophical background, and the reactions of relatives and mental health professionals all play a role. Patients combine various explanatory models, both medical and religious/cultural, to interpret their experiences and these may fluctuate over the years. The two studies are placed in the context of literature about bipolar disorder and various aspects of religion to date. Finally, the challenges for future research and the implications for clinical practice will be outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)

Other

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2 pages, 151 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Huijs et al. (2024). Spirituality as a Predictor of Well-Being, Mental Distress or Both: A Four-Week Follow-Up Study in a Sample of Dutch and Belgian Adults. Religions 15: 179
by Thijs Huijs, Arjan W. Braam, Renske Kruizinga, Nele Jacobs, Jennifer Reijnders and Marianne Simons
Religions 2024, 15(5), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050602 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 253
Abstract
In the original publication (Huijs et al [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Psychiatry)
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