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The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists provides a significant service in supporting the development of such a practical text as Spirituality and Psychiatry. While the editors attempted to provide some working definition of ‘spirituality’ for the book, the ultimate ability to sustain a theologically and conceptually coherent usage of this term throughout evaded the authors. Although this abiding challenge in work with ‘spirituality’ persists with this work due to its diversity of authorship and mission, its commitment to gaining a better understanding of the clinical engagement of spirituality and religion by mental health practitioners is a useful challenge to practitioners and provides helpful guideposts for further consideration. While appreciating the breadth of efforts represented within this work, we will focus on the strongest and most useful chapters in this review.
Culliford and Eagger make a strong case for inclusion of spirituality in good psychiatric care and for assessing spiritual needs. Culliford and Eagger emphasise qualitative methods of enquiry, noting that quantitative assessments are less personal, too objective, intrusive or dismissive, and are best suited for research. The authors advocate a continual assessment and conversation rather than one brief assessment at the beginning of service as well as a team approach rather than including the chaplain as the only spiritual …
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