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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This well-integrated book of chapters by different authors provides a solid framework with which to approach a client's spiritual worldview as well as specific information about believers of major religions in North America.
Purpose: Increasingly there is evidence of the relation of religious beliefs or practices to health. This book provides information on spirituality and the individual as a tool for clinicians who face the demand to appreciate and assess the perspectives of persons of diverse spiritual or religious worldviews.
Audience: Although its primary audience is clinicians, the book would serve as an excellent text for those in training.
Features: This book exceeds what you might find in a handbook. An opening chapter places Freud's approach to religion in the framework of the philosophical, scientific, and religious context of his time as well as in the context of Freud's inner dynamics, particularly in relation to his father. Material on spiritual assessment and case formulation incorporates some of the best current thinkers in the field. A thoughtful approach to ethical considerations of addressing spirituality in psychotherapy prepares the reader for chapters discussing beliefs of particular religious traditions and the impact these beliefs could have in clinical settings. The book also addresses the perspective of those who claim to be atheist. A concluding chapter stretches the reader to attend to perspectives of those from non-Western cultures.
Assessment: The clinician who only has limited time would do well to read this book. It does a masterful job of incorporating the best of current work on religion and spirituality in psychiatry. The authors provide balanced material that simply elucidates belief frameworks that might help or harm a client with little of the personal passion that can challenge the objectivity needed for this topic.