Religion, spirituality, and mental health

Loren Toussaint, Jon R. Webb, Whitney Keltner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Beginning with Freud (1989), modern psychology has consistently dismissed religion, sometimes virulently so. Meaningful segments of the eld continue to question the utility of religion and spirituality; conceptually, empirically, and clinically. APA policy (APA, 2008) and ethical standards (APA, 2002) recognize and respect religion and religiousness, but it is unclear how this translates to the eld as a whole. Twenty-two years ago, Bergin and Jensen (1990) showed lower levels of belief and religiousness in psychologists as compared to the general public. Eight years later, McMinn, Chaddock, Edwards, Lim, and Campbell (1998) found little mutual collaboration between clergy and psychologists. Just a few years ago, Delaney, Miller, and Bisonó (2007) found that psychologists continue to be substantially less religious than the general public. Indeed, Frazier and Hansen (2009) found a lack of belief in the importance of religious or spiritual issues among psychologists and a reluctance to discuss such issues with clients and during professional consultation. Similarly, O’Connor and Vandenberg (2005) found that psychologists were likely to view less mainstream religious beliefs as pathological.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Religion and Spirituality for Clinicians
Subtitle of host publicationUsing Research in Your Practice
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781135224370
ISBN (Print)9780415873437
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


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