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Religious coping in schizophrenia patients: Spiritual support in medical care and pastoral counselling

Brandt, P.-Y., Mohr, S., Gillièron, C., Rieben, I., & Huguelet, P. (2012). Toronto Journal of Theology, 28(2), 193-208

Abstract. Following an introduction focusing on the role of religion in the treatment of psychosis, the first part of this paper describes an initial study in which the role of spirituality and religiosity was assessed in 115 patients with schizophrenia in Geneva (Switzerland) and 126 in Trois-Rivières (Quebec). These themes have been shown to be highly prevalent for these patients, though their clinicians are often unaware of this prevalence. The following part of the paper presents a second study where religious supervision was offered to clinicians in Geneva. Comparison between forty patients who received spiritual assessment and opportunities to work on religious topics with their clinicians was made with thirty patients without religious intervention. In the supervisory sessions, six different types of religious interventions were suggested. Outcomes at three months show that patients of the intervention group maintain their interest for help in religious matters while clinicians' interest in integrating religious topics in discussions with their patients has decreased. The third and main part of the paper is devoted to an analysis of the suggested interventions from the viewpoint of the study of religions. Five aspects of religion are distinguished, and explanations of the reasons some of them are easier to manage for clinicians are proposed. The paper concludes with proposals for the education of clinicians to help them to differentiate different kinds of religious coping and to recognize when it could be helpful to refer the patient to a pastoral counsellor.

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