James L. Griffith - Recipient of the 2011 Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture for Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms! From James L. Griffith, well known for his work on harnessing the healing potential of religion and spirituality, this book helps clinicians to intervene effectively in situations where religion is causing harm. Vivid examples illustrate how religious beliefs and practices may propel suicide, violence, self-neglect, or undue suffering in the face of medical or emotional challenges. Griffith also unravels the links between psychiatric illness and distorted religious experience. He demonstrates empathic, respectful ways to interview patients who disdain contact with mental health professionals, yet whose religious lives put themselves or others at risk. The book incorporates cutting-edge research on the psychology of religion and social neuroscience. James L. Griffith is the recipient of the 2011 Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture for Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms.
The award is given every year to an individual who has made a recent, significant, and creative contribution to the field of cultural psychiatry.
"This is a wise book, carefully crafted by a psychiatrist who is well acquainted with the empirical literature on the psychology of religion. Griffith avoids both naive apologetics and reductionism in providing insights into how to work with what he terms religiously determined patients, including those whose beliefs are distant from one's own. No simple answers are provided; rather the reader is gradually pulled into the guiding thread of the entire text - the importance of maintaining a therapeutic stance of neighborly respect, even when beliefs may be linked to psychological crises and potentially destructive behaviors." - Ralph W. Hood, Jr., Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA "An important, original book on a topic we face daily, in both our professional and personal lives. With flowing prose, Griffith mines complex areas of research - sociobiology, neurobiology, and attachment theory chief among them - to make crucial distinctions among benign and destructive religious beliefs and practices. After reading this book, clinicians will feel better equipped to engage in meaningful dialogue with patients for whom distinguishing between symptoms of mental illness and 'troubling but nonetheless normal' religious ideas and behavior is essential. The book's blend of conceptual and clinical case material, along with practical suggestions, will appeal to graduate students as well as seasoned clinicians. This is a wise and compassionate book that will be a lasting reference." - Kaethe Weingarten, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, the Witnessing Project, USA