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Religious competence as cultural competence.

Authors
  • Whitley, Rob1
  • 1 Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. [email protected] , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Transcultural psychiatry
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2012
Volume
49
Issue
2
Pages
245–260
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/1363461512439088
PMID: 22421686
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Definitions of cultural competence often refer to the need to be aware and attentive to the religious and spiritual needs and orientations of patients. However, the institution of psychiatry maintains an ambivalent attitude to the incorporation of religion and spirituality into psychiatric practice. This is despite the fact that many patients, especially those from underserved and underprivileged minority backgrounds, are devotedly religious and find much solace and support in their religiosity. I use the case of mental health of African Americans as an extended example to support the argument that psychiatric services must become more closely attuned to religious matters. I suggest ways in which this can be achieved. Attention to religion can aid in the development of culturally competent and accessible services, which in turn, may increase engagement and service satisfaction among religious populations.

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