Spiritual Care in Psychological Suffering: How a Research Collaboration Informs Integrative Practice highlights spiritually integrative research and demonstrates the evolution of a national partnership of psychologists and chaplains collaborating for optimal results. Interdisciplinary teams are the gold standard in spiritual care provision, and this book orients the purpose and promise of such collaboration for research and practice. Recent work in the psychology of religion and spirituality has emphasized the importance of relational spirituality, distinctions between harmful and helpful effects of religion and spirituality on mental health, and the relevance of spiritual struggles for psychological well-being; however, these dimensions have not been examined in the context of a collaborative and culturally diverse partnership, nor have they been comprehensively examined in psychologically distressed populations. This volume seeks to make an important contribution to the psychology of religion by providing an in-depth look at translating integrative research into integrative practice in a population that has experienced significant psychological suffering. It is hoped that insights from this volume will contribute the following: foster more rewarding chaplain-researcher partnerships; offer a deeper understanding of the intersections among spiritual experience, virtues, and psychological distress; and demonstrate approaches for inquiring about individuals’ spiritual lives in the midst of psychological suffering.
Alexis D. Abernethy is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology in the School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Introduction – Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD
Part 1: Developing a Collaborative Interdisciplinary Partnership
1. Visioning an Integrative Partnership – Mark Eastburg, PhD and Winston E. Gooden, PhD
2. Forging a Collaborative Research Partnership between Chaplains and Psychologists – Karl Van Harn, DMin, Janet S. Carter, MDiv, and Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD
Part 2: Integrative Research Findings
3. Practice Insights Informing Research - Religious Comfort Spiritual Care by Chaplains – Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD, Karl Van Harn, DMin, and Janet S. Carter, MDiv
4. Spiritual Struggles and Considerations in Spiritual Care – Mary Jacob Mathew, PhD and Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD
5. The Impact of Religion and Spirituality on the Presence and Absence of Meaning in Life in Recovery from Mental Illness – Joseph M. Currier, PhD, Hannah M. Hinkel, MA, and Sarah Salcone, BA
6. The Virtues of Patience and Gratitude as Protective Factors in Mental Illness - Sarah A. Schnitker, PhD
7. Interpersonal Forgiveness of Others, Perceived Divine Forgiveness, and Self-Forgiveness: Psychological and Spiritual Implications – Lindsey Root Luna, PhD, Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet, PhD, and Heather Jones, PsyD
8. Clinical and Conceptual Insights Informing Research: Suicidality and the Afterlife – Marwan S. Tabbara, MD
Part 3: Conclusion: Principles for Optimizing Integrative Collaborations
9. Building Collaborative Research and Clinical Partnerships: Spiritual and Relational Work – Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD
10. Diversity and Social Justice as a Critical Lens for Integrative Partnerships: Implications for Future Research - Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD
About the Contributors
Spiritual Care in Psychological Suffering: How a Research Collaboration Informs Integrative Practice not only talks about transcending disciplinary boundaries but actually does it! Well-grounded in their own scientific research as well as the literature more broadly, this team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and chaplains has been working together now for almost a decade to help people in psychiatric crisis. What you will read herein is both a model for successful collaboration as well as a treasure trove of integrative research with real clinical outcomes resulting from such collaboration. An outstanding example of just what can be done when we extend our disciplinary reach. Well-worth the read.
I am so excited to see this creative, scholarly, and thought-provoking volume! It was inspiring to read about such a dynamic collaborative relationship between chaplains, psychologists, and psychiatrists in a faith-based treatment setting. The book provides a rich, in-depth set of discussions, including an excellent overview of research studies conducted in this clinical setting on topics such as forgiveness, spiritual struggles, religious comfort, patience, and afterlife beliefs. The book also extends beyond a pure research focus to provide an insider view of how this partnership began and how it has evolved over time, along with many helpful suggestions for clinical work and collaboration, and with attention to vital issues of social justice. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the integration of spirituality, religion, and mental health care.
Our hurting world desperately needs the kind of integrative healing described by Abernethy and colleagues in this book—Spiritual Care in Psychological Suffering. I am deeply heartened by their insightful interdisciplinary approach drawing on the best of psychological research and spiritual care wisdom. We need more of this kind of collaborative work among mental health practitioners, chaplains, and clergy. This book can provide both practical strategies for spiritually integrative mental health while also describing a process for building this kind of interdisciplinary community. I will be using it for my own clinical practice and within psychology and spirituality training contexts.
Effective teams are an essential ingredient for conducting research that can inform and support spiritual care. This book describes a notable ten-year partnership between psychology researchers at Fuller Seminary and Graduate School of Psychology and chaplains at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. It shares some of the important theoretical and clinical insights that emerged from their collaboration. This partnership serves as an important model for advancing evidence-based spiritual care in mental health and other contexts.
With deep respect for people facing psychiatric crisis, this team—spanning psychology, psychiatry, and chaplaincy—studied spiritual intersections with mental health. Their research and reflections are a needed contribution for competent and compassionate care when people need it most.
Abernethy’s edited book, Spiritual Care in Psychological Suffering, is a brilliant collaborative project that could help shift psychologist-psychiatrist-chaplain-clergy interactions. It’s personal. I loved the chapter by Eastburg and Gooden laying out their professional and personal history. It’s research-based, and the research is well-conceived, conducted, and conveyed. It’s practical. The chapters on the tribulations and jubilations of a ten-year, ten-professional collaboration are down-to-earth and spiritually minded. It’s a good read for chaplain, researcher, and mental health provider. I recommend it.
This unique contribution to the psychology of religion/spirituality and mental health provides a 360 degree view of an amazing ten year clinical and research partnership between Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Fuller Theological Seminary. This book not only offers new insights into areas such as gratitude, meaning, forgiveness, and spiritual struggle, it also provides important 'behind the scenes' views into the origin and functioning of the interdisciplinary team that carried out this project. There are any number of reasons to strongly recommend this work but if you have interest in this field, you simply must know what was learned throughout this endeavor. I suspect you’ll read it more than once and refer to it often.
While a robust literature describes the role of religion and spirituality in serious medical illness and of virtues such as forgiveness in promoting flourishing, the spiritual needs of individuals suffering with mental disorders have received little systematic attention. The multidisciplinary collaboration reviewed here sheds welcome light on challenges facing researchers working in this area, lessons learned in the process, and the practical implications of their findings. Readers will better understand the clinical relevance of meaning in life, belief in the afterlife and suicide, spiritual struggles, and religious comfort, the virtues in mental health treatment, and targeted spiritual interventions. This is a pathbreaking volume which deserves a wide audience of clinicians, researchers and providers of spiritual care.
Spiritual Care in Psychological Suffering is an uniquely important resource. It not only synthesizes a decade of robust peer-reviewed empirical research on spiritually-integrative mental health care within an inpatient psychiatric setting (something that the literature is in short supply of), but it also models the process in which such research should be done—that is, within the context of an interdisciplinary team working in longstanding partnership and collaboration spanning multiple institutions and stakeholders who are all deeply invested in community spiritual and mental health. This work is a major accomplishment by a stellar team that I expect will inspire future generations of researchers and clinicians.