About us

Founded over 20 years ago, the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group is one of the largest in the College with around 4500 members. This reflects the importance of this topic to the College membership and the growing evidence base around spirituality and mental health.

  • Provide a safe place within which College members can discuss spirituality, broadly conceived, in relation to their professional practice and vocation. This has happened mainly through its day conferences but also (in the past) a newsletter and publications archive 
  • Positively influence the wider College in all its affairs, notably policy, publications, curriculum and the annual essay prize
  • Engage in debate on spirituality in relation to psychiatry nationally and internationally
  • Liaise with and influence national and international bodies with common concerns

Please note that publications by the SPSIG represent the views of individual members or its Executive and do not represent College policy unless specified.

The committee has a busy agenda and meets four times a year, its members are drawn from a wide range of spiritual and religious affiliations.

Chairs to date

  • Founding Chair Dr Andrew Powell 1999–2003
  • Professor Andrew Sims 2003–2005
  • Dr Sarah Eagger 2005–2009
  • Professor Chris Cook 2009–2013
  • Dr Paramabandhu Groves 2013–2017
  • Dr Alison Gray 2017–2021
  • Professor Chris Cook 2021 - current

The maximum term for elected officers (chair, secretary and treasurer) is 4 years. All other appointments to the committee are non-tenured and by invitation, and the Executive welcomes expressions of interest from members who would wish to play an active role in the planning and running of the special interest group.

MemberStart DateRole
Dr Christopher Findlay  2000Financial Officer (Elected)
Dr Sarah Eagger2000Committee Member
Professor Chris Cook2004Chair (Elected)
Dr Alison Gray2010Committee Member
Dr Chetna Kang2013Committee Member
Dr Russell Razzaque2013Committee Member
Dr Glòria Durà – Vilà2017Committee Member
Dr Hashim Reza2017Committee Member
Dr Omur Miles2018Committee Member
Dr Lucy Grimwade2018Committee Member
Dr Rachel Cullinan2018Committee Member
Dr Rob Waller2019Committee Member
Dr Jonathan Buckley2021Trainee Representative
Emma Duffy2022Patient Representative

This picture of the Committee was taken at a recent conference.

exec committee 2

Next SPSIG meetings

The next day conferences are as below. Booking is by the main College Events page. Events take place at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Prescot Street, London E1.

  • 2nd December 2022 - ‘Further down the road: ageing, mental health and spirituality'
  • 31st March 2023 - 'Where is God?'

The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SPSIG) has established a prize to be awarded to the best entry, or shared between joint best entries, for submissions comprising an original study, research report, review, or essay, on spirituality and psychiatry by a single author.

The prize has been established to harness and promote interest in spirituality and psychiatry, and to motivate psychiatrists to build up evidence in this area as it relates to patients and practice.

Prize: £300.

Frequency: Annually.

Eligible: All Members and Affiliates of the College and all psychiatry trainees and medical students.

Regulations

1. Entries will be evaluated according to the following criteria. Submissions that focus particularly on one area should nevertheless have at least some merit under all headings.

  • the extent to which the essay furthers an understanding of spirituality in relation to psychiatry
  • awareness of the literature on spirituality and psychiatry
  • relevance to psychiatric practice and patient care
  • originality
  • critical reflective quality

2. Entries should be no longer than 5,000 words and should be submitted electronically where possible, ideally in Word (double spaced).

3. Shortlisting will be the responsibility of the Executive Committee or a panel appointed by them from within the Executive, which will include a senior academic. The Executive Committee reserves the right not to award the prize in any given year if the quality or relevance of the entries is deemed not to be of sufficient merit.

4. The winning entry/entries, and all authors of shortlisted submissions, will be notified by 31 March the following year. Shortlisted papers will be eligible for publication on the Spirituality Special Interest Group website.

Submissions

Closing date: 31 December each year.

All submissions should be emailed to sigs@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Membership of the SPSIG is open only to Members and Associates of the College.

To join, please complete the main College SIG online application form [login required] or email the College Membership office.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry