Spiritual understandings of psychosis: the perspectives of spiritual care staff

Al Taher, Reham ORCID: 0000-0002-9176-5142 (2022). Spiritual understandings of psychosis: the perspectives of spiritual care staff. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Introduction: Pathologizing spiritual beliefs has been an ongoing challenge in mental health services, especially when clinicians need to discern psychosis-like experiences that present with religious or spiritual content. Thus, spiritual care services have been working alongside clinicians on service-users having psychosis-like presentations, but there has been little to no research on their perspectives or work with psychosis. This study aimed to explore how spiritual care staff make sense of experiences otherwise termed as “psychosis” in services.

Method: Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a multi-faith sample of six participants were interviewed via a video conferencing software. This consisted of a semi-structured interview and three case vignettes to explore their meaning-making experiences of psychosis, spirituality, religion, mental health services, and spiritual care.

Findings: Participants acknowledged “psychosis” as a label that is applied to certain experiences. These experiences were described as spiritual in nature as it affects a person’s overall awareness, quality of life, wellbeing, and overlaps with co-occurring psychological, environmental, and biological factors. Therefore, holistic working is emphasized; depending on service-users’ needs, participants used validation, empathy, acceptance of service-users’ explanatory frameworks, support for medical involvement, and religious resources (e.g., prayer). Mental health services were described as being more acknowledging of spirituality, but still predominantly biomedical, with some staff underutilizing spiritual care in psychosis recovery despite service-users finding it helpful and supportive.

Discussion: Integrating spiritual care within the work of existing mental health services requires ongoing conceptual and practical considerations, including spiritual care education, training, and collaboration.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13154


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