Religion and Mental Health

Jesper Noer,
© Jesper Noer,

How do mental heath professionals understand their patients’ religious beliefs? This was the question that Professor Simon Dein asked at a seminar at the Faraday Institute this week. Dein is a consultant psychiatrist, lecturer in anthropology and medicine, and founding editor of the journal Mental Health, Religion and Culture.

Dein comes from a Jewish background. He is comfortable talking about religion, and interested in its effects on mental health. He has worked for many years with patients from a variety of faith backgrounds (Jewish, Christian, Muslim and others), and has found that a clinical method that recognises a patient’s beliefs is far more effective than a secular approach.

As a clinician, Dein didn’t make any comment on whether he thought any of his patients’ beliefs were true or not. He was honest about the fact that he doesn’t believe in God Continue reading