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Religion, Culture and Mental Health
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  • 3 b/w illus. 3 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511258060)

Are religious practices involving seeing visions and speaking in tongues beneficial or detrimental to mental health? Do some cultures express distress in bodily form because they lack the linguistic categories to express distress psychologically? Do some religions encourage clinical levels of obsessional behaviour? And are religious people happier than others? By merging the growing information on religion and mental health with that on culture and mental health, Kate Loewenthal enables fresh perspectives on these questions. This book deals with different psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, manic disorders, depression, anxiety, somatisation and dissociation as well as positive states of mind, and analyses the religious and cultural influences on each.

• The first book to look at the joint influences of religion and culture on mental health • Re-examines commonly asked questions, such as 'how is the mental health of women compared to men affected by cultural-religious factors?' • Will appeal to health psychologists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, and academics and researchers in the psychology of religion and social psychology


1. Introduction; 2. Schizophrenia; 3. Manic disorder; 4. Depression; 5. Anxiety; 6. Somatization; 7. Dissociation; 8. Positive states; 9. Conclusion.


Reviews of the hardback: 'This book offers an excellent introduction to the field of religion, culture and mental health. It is comprehensive in its overview of contemporary studies. It reads in a clear and lucid way and will be useful for anyone in the field of mental health, religion and culture.' Simon Dein, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer, University College Hospital London

'Psychology has long needed a text on psychopathology and religion. Now we have it. This excellent book - scholarly, even-handed, and appreciative of the diversity of religion and culture - should provide just the jump-start we need to advance the state of research and practice in the field of religion and mental health.' Kenneth I. Pargament, Bowling Green State University

'This book provides a challenging, cogent, and well-documented overview of religion, mental health and culture and is a must-read for researchers, practitioners and students interested in the processes through which religion is related to mental health. As well as the traditional focus on mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, Professor Loewenthal also reviews the recent literature on the positive psychology of religion and happiness. Case examples are used throughout the book to illustrate the issues in thoughtful and insightful ways and, coupled with Professor Loewenthal's research and personal wisdom, make this book a compelling read.' Stephen Joseph, University of Nottingham

'In a time of increasingly polarised and politicised views of religion, it has become difficult to think clearly about the impact of religious practice on mental health and illness. Yet, for many people, religion and spirituality are crucial resources for making sense of suffering and affliction. In this thoughtful text, Kate Loewenthal has mapped out the diverse interactions between religion and psychiatry relevant to clinical care. With its careful consideration of the role of religious experience in illness and healing, this book will help practitioners address one of the most central sources of meaning in patients' lives.' Laurence J. Kirmayer, McGill University and Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry

'The obvious strengths of the book are Loewenthal's knowledge and expertise within the field of psychology and religion, the didactic nature of her discourse, and the sheer amount of information, which is succinctly summarized for those with particular academic interests in this area. However, clinicians will also find the material relevant to multicultural and multiethnic practice, especially related to matters of discernment and interpretation of a client's behaviour within the influence of religion and culture on their psychopathology, or conversely, the use of religion and culture in order to restore or enhance optimal functioning.' Community Mental Health Journal

'… [Loewenthal] brings credibility, balance, and clarity to the subject, anchored in genuine scholarship. The book's brevity … belies the richness of the source material, much of it recent, that she taps for her discussion.' Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

'… includes many case examples … Each chapter concludes with a review of the findings, providing a succinct overview of the research position … Religion, Culture and Mental Health definitely challenges some of the assumptions that people may have around the possible adverse impact of religious belief and practice on mental health.' Inclusion News

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