Role of Spirituality in the Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

History of the Problem

Rachel Evans (2011) lists a number of nutritional therapies for the treatment of depression, ranging from St. John's Wort to "dan zhi xiao yao, a traditional Chinese medicine." Alternative medicine has often been seen as a supplement to the treatment of depression in the past. Other treatments have included the famous lobotomy technique designed by Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his technique. Moniz simply drilled and snipped "nerve fibers running from the frontal lobes to the rest of the brain" (Lerner, 2005). And Kyziridis identifies several ways in which the ancient Greeks would approach mental illness such as depression:

"Cicero…believed that man could help with his own cure through philosophy" (p. 43). Even today there are numerous studies that still show how physicians rely on pharmaceuticals to restore balance in a patient suffering from depression: Prevention of depends upon early intervention and usually relies on the administering of an antipsychotic. "One preliminary study suggests that treatment given at the ?rst sign of personality disruption can sometimes stave off the onset of full-blown schizophrenia and restore normal mental health" (Wyatt, 2001).

John Docherty at Cornell University dismisses some researchers for using what they call a "cross-sectional analysis," indicting them for "categorizing patients with different kinds of psychiatric disorders" (Arehart-Treichel, 2001). What Docherty reveals is that identifying a patient's disorder and treating is not always as black and white as it may appear. One reason it often appears gray may be that not all of the components of the patient are being taken into consideration. Why should psychiatrists limit themselves to the physical, emotional, and social and not deal with the spiritual?

The suggestion has been made that spirituality can play an impact on some individuals. Lisa Cooper and Daniel Ford (2001) argue that "research indicates that patients want their physicians to address issues of faith and spirituality in the course of their treatment, and that patients with strong spiritual and religious tendencies are receptive to physicians referring them to pastoral counselors or praying with them." What Cooper and Ford cite as a downside in their research is the lack of time and strategy devoted to developing this area of concern: "Not much is known about how, when, and with whom patients would like to discuss their spiritual needs in the context of medical care."

M.A. Stanley (2011) also indicates that Christian patients are especially receptive to the idea of "incorporating spirituality/religion into counseling for anxiety and depression." However, while a study by C.D. MacLean et al. (2003) also indicates a strong desire in a minority percentage of patients to seek spiritual assistance as the severity of the illness increases, "the routine office visit may not be the optimal setting for a physician-patient spiritual dialogue."

Reference List

Arehart-Treichel, J. (2001). Early Symptoms May Hold Key to Preventing

Schizophrenia. Psychiatric News. Retrieved from

Cooper, L., Ford, D. (2001). How Important is Intrinsic Spirituality in Depression Care?

Journal of General Intern Medicine 16(9), p. 634-638. DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.016009634.x

Doolittle, B., Farrell, M. (2004). The Association Between Spirituality and Depression

in an Urban Clinic. Prim Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 6(3), p. 114-118. Retrieved from

Evans, R. (2011). Q/Which nutritional therapies are safe and effective for depression?

Journal of Family Practice. Retrieved from;content

Kyziridis, T. (2005). Notes on the History of Schizophrenia. Retrieved from

Lerner, B.H. (2005). History of Medicine: On Lobotomy. ScienceWeek.

Retrieved from

MacLean C.D. et al. (2003). Patient preference for physician discussion and practice of spirituality. Journal of General Internal Medicine 18(1), p. 38-43. Retrieved from

McCoubrie, R., Davies, A. (2005). Is there a correlation between spirituality and anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer? Supportive Care in Cancer 14(4), 379-385. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-005-0892-6

Stanley, M.A. (2011). Older adults' preferences for religion/spirituality in treatment for anxiety and depression. Aging Mental Health 15(3), p. 334-43. Retrieved from

Wyatt, R.J. (2001). Tantalizing Clues to Preventing Schizophrenia. The Dana

Foundation. Retrieved from

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