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ss triple helix - Easter 2010,  Is Faith Delusion?

Is Faith Delusion?

Andrew Sims
Continuum 2009
£14.99 Pb 237pp
ISBN 978 1 84706 340 3
Andrew Sims, CMF member and former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and professor at Leeds, considers the question: is faith delusion? He presents the evidence concerning religion and mental health and explains why it is not. Ranging widely, he includes a chapter on the history of psychiatry that recalls Freud's statement that belief in God is delusional.

He finds the great majority of studies show a positive association between faith and mental health. Religious belief conveys a health advantage for conditions including depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance misuse. Spiritual healing through prayer is considered and its efficacy found to be weakly positive, although more rigorous research is needed. The relation between religion and personality is covered in depth.

Andrew Sims speaks with integrity from his professional and personal experience. He says attitudes have changed such that it is acceptable to allow patients to discuss how their beliefs relate to their mental illness. He provides evidence for why this should be encouraged. This authoritative book is a valuable resource for all who work in mental health and seek to justify the importance of spiritual care therein, and for others who wish to learn about belief and wellbeing.


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