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

About us: Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group

Spirituality and psychiatry SIG about us


There is now good evidence that spirituality and religious faith can be protective factors in helping to sustain patients and improve the outcome. Taking a short spiritual history can assist psychiatrist and patient alike when considering treatment options, as well as strengthening the therapeutic relationship.

The CPD module Exploring spirituality with people who use mental health services is now available to all members of the College. The SPSIG has held meditation workshops at College meetings, and programmes on Mindfulness, with a CPD module under development. In addition, the SPSIG has contributed to the 2016 World Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatry.

Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SPSIG) | Executive Committee | Forthcoming events | Newsletters | Resources | Spirituality and Psychiatry prize | Publications archive | How to join | Spirituality SIG Annual Report 2017 


The SPSIG supports the exploration of such fundamental questions as the purpose and meaning of life, which are so important for mental health; the problem of good and evil; life events invested with spiritual significance, including birth, illness, bereavement, death and the near death experience; mystical and trance states, and spiritual and religious awakening. Distinguishing between pathological and normal human experience is vital in order to understand better the overlap and the difference between the two.

The membership of the SPSIG has steadily increased over the years and currently stands at over 3000. Twice yearly conferences are held, and the website has over 200 papers on spirituality by psychiatrists that can be downloaded from its publications archive.


The Executive Committee is keen to involve the wider membership in shaping  the further work of the SPSIG. Trainees, in particular, have an important part to play in future developments. The committee would be glad to give support to psychiatrists and trainees interested in running local events or in wider networking. The aim of the SPSIG is always to affirm the universal nature of spirituality while encouraging diversity that informs and enriches. As valued colleagues, please make your views heard and your presence felt.


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


A video about the work of the Special Interest Group Spirituality in Psychiatry for Today’s World is available on YouTube.


Forthcoming events






How to join

Membership of the SPSIG is open only to Members and Associates of the College. To join, please complete our online application form or email the College Membership office.



Recent conferences include: 

  • 'Mindfulness:Theory and Practice' (March 2015)
  • 'Whither the Soul of Psychiatry? The place of Spirituality in UK mental healthcare today' (November 2015)
  • 'Interfaith and Interface: the Contribution of Faith Groups to Mental Health' (March 2016)
  • 'Hallucinations and Spiritual Experience: Voices, Visions and Revelation' (November 2016)
  • 'Silent Prejudice: Stigma, spirituality and mental health' (April 2017)
  • 'Bringing Compassion into Mental Healthcare' (December 2017)


College publications:

Two books on spirituality in mental healthcare have been published to date: Spirituality and Psychiatry and Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice

The ‘Help is at Hand’ series includes a leaflet on Spirituality and Mental Health

In 2011, the College published the Position Paper Recommendations for Psychiatrists on Spirituality and Religion 


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Latest news




College Position Paper:

CPD Online module: 

Journal of Mental Health, Religion and Culture:

College 'Help is at Hand' leaflet:

From the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust:

Please note: single download of the Handbook is permitted for personal use only. For multiple copies, email requesting an order form: £5 per copy including UK postage, discounts available for 10+


From the Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatry Association: