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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice

Edited by Christopher C.H. Cook, Andrew Powell and Andrew Sims

Price: £30.00

Members' discount available

Published: Mar 2016

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 204

ISBN: 9781909726451

Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice

For mental health service users, spirituality and faith are closely connected with questions of relationship, transcendence, and finding meaning and purpose in life – questions best approached by way of narrative (or story).

In clinical practice, narrative can provide a means of exploring the ethical and professional dilemmas that are encountered when spiritual and/or religious concerns are in evidence. Narrative has been recognised as important in both medicine and theology, and now it can be employed as a framework for addressing spirituality and religion in clinical psychiatric practice, encompassing addictions, liaison and forensic psychiatry, and spanning all ages and cultures.


  • Breaks new ground in using a narrative to explore the importance and challenge of spirituality in clinical psychiatric practice.
  • Includes narrative excerpts and case illustrations to show how spiritual concerns can be included in a range of psychiatric treatment options.
  • Provides a tool for exploring the ethical and professional dilemmas spirituality still raises in mental healthcare.
  • Presents contributions from patients, chaplains, and leading psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.


All psychiatrists and mental health professionals.  Plus of interest to anyone interested in the effect of religion/spirituality upon mental health, e.g. hospital chaplains.


About the editors:

Professor Christopher C.H. Cook - Professor of Spirituality, Theology & Health, Durham University; Honorary Minor Canon at Durham Cathedral; and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Andrew Powell - Formerly: Consultant Psychotherapist and Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, St. George's Hospital and University of London and Consultant Psychotherapist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, the Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford.
Professor Andrew Sims - Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Leeds and former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1990-93).

"A fascinating book. ...Demonstrates powerfully that storytelling is central to psychiatric practice, as indeed it is arguably to areas of medical practice. ...I highly commend this book to all, including patients who may well find it helpful."
Chrism (The Journal of the Guild of Health & St Raphael)


Foreword - Baroness Sheila Hollins

Preface  - Chris Cook, Andrew Powell and Andrew Sims


  1. Narrative in psychiatry, theology and spirituality - Chris Cook
  2. Spirituality and transcultural narratives  - Simon Dein
  3. Psychopathology and the clinical story - Andrew Sims
  4. Helping patients tell their story: narratives of body, mind and soul - Andrew Powell
  5. Gods lost and found: spiritual coping in clinical practice - Kenneth I Pargament and James Lomax
  6. Stories of joy and sorrow: spirituality and affective disorder - Frederic C Craigie
  7. Stories of fear: spirituality and anxiety disorders - Chris Williams
  8. Stories of transgression: narrative therapy with offenders - Gwen Adshead
  9. Narratives of transformation in psychosis - Isabel Clarke with Katie Mottram, Satyin Taylor and Hilary Pegg
  10. My story: a spiritual narrative - Jo Barber
  11. God’s story revealed in the human story - Beau Stevenson
  12. Meaning without ‘believing’: attachment theory, mentalisation and the spiritual dimension of analytical psychotherapy - Jeremy Holmes
  13. Stories of living with loss: spirituality and ageing - John Wattis and Stephen Curran
  14. Beginnings and endings - Chris Cook, Andrew Powell & Andrew Sims


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