Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 25–31

A Pragmatic Approach to Teaching Psychiatry Residents the Assessment and Treatment of Religious Patients

Original Article



The authors descripe a pragmatic and atheoretical frameword for teaching psychiatry residents how to assess and treat religious patients.


The psychiatrist’s goals in assessing the religious history are clarified. These goals differ between the assessment and treatment phases. During assessment, attention is paid to psychiatric phenomenology and careful history-taking utilizing knowledgeable outside informants. A framework is presented for engaging religious patients, fostering therapeutic alliance, avoiding pitfalls, and facilitating treatment within the patient’s religious context.


Emphasizing knowledge of phenomenology and information gathering skills may be more effective than emphasizing broad knowledge of many religions, except for clinicians practicing within a particular religious community.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abarbanel Mental Health CenterBat YamIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Medical SchoolTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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