Community Connections

Spirituality and Mental Health

Over the last decade in many circles, spirituality has become a very hot topic. Bestseller lists seem always to carry books with the word "spirit" or "soul" in their titles. Newspapers report regularly on the relationships between spirituality and health. Professional medical journals carry articles documenting the connections between religious activities and recovery from physical illness. Belonging to certain religious groups is reported to be a primary factor in the prevention of substance abuse problems. And the federal government is raising the profile of "faith-based organizations" in the provision of social services.

Most mainstream mental health professionals, though, remain dubious about spirituality and religion and most service centers neglect spirituality in the programs they offer. Social science's longstanding skepticism about, if not open antagonism toward, religion and spirituality makes this neglect more understandable. However, a growing body of research evidence, clinical reports, and first-person accounts by consumer-survivors have made it clear that there are strong arguments in favor of increased attention to spirituality in recovery—from trauma, from mental illness, from substance abuse.

Members of the Community Connections staff have written about this more positive set of roles for religion and spirituality in recovery from trauma and from severe mental disorders [Link to Publications]. Spiritual assessment, spiritual discussion groups, and linkages to community-based religious/spiritual resources are just a few of the ways in which clinicians can expand appropriately the place of spirituality in their work. For more information about Community Connections' approaches to these issues, please e-mail Roger D. Fallot, Ph.D. at

Roger D. Fallot, Ph.D. presents Keynote Address and workshops on Spirituality and Recovery
CA Institute for Mental Health's Conference
June 2nd, 2009
To discuss arranging a training or consultation in your agency or service system, please contact Rebecca Wolfson Berley, MSW, Director of Trauma Education at (202) 608-4735 or

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