The core purpose
This one-day interdisciplinary conference on spirituality, theology and mental health with two of the worldwide leaders (Prof. Harold Koenig and Prof. Chris Cook) in the field will provide delegates with an opportunity to consider how innovations can emerge through a visionary, interdisciplinary focus.
Keynote Speaker Profiles
Prof. Harold Koenig
In brief, Prof. Koenig is Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center, and has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with over 500 scientific peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and nearly 50 books in print or preparation. Prof. Koenig has given testimony before the U.S. Senate (1998) and U.S. House of Representatives (2008) concerning the benefits of religion and spirituality on public health. His latest books are a series on religion and mental health (Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism).
Prof. Chris Cook
In brief, Prof. Cook is Director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology & Health in Durham. This project was collaborative between the Department of Theology & Religion and the School of Medicine, Pharmacy & Health (until the recent move of SMPH to Newcastle. Prof. Cook is also an honorary consultant psychiatrist with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, President of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality and an Executive Editor of the Journal for the Study of Spirituality and was Chair of the Executive Committee of the Special Interest Group in Spirituality & Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2009-2013. Similarly, like Prof. Koenig; Prof. Cook has published extensively in peer-reviewed publications, books and book chapters.
In recent decades, worldwide academic and public consciousness regarding the relevance of spirituality and religion to health issues has increased. The World Psychiatric Association and The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Special Interest Group on Spirituality affirmed a need for more research on both religion and spirituality in mental health (Cook, 2016). This area is still in early stages and is primarily focused on two areas: first, the training of mental health care professionals to increase their sensitivity to spiritual needs and religious orientation. Second, co-opting faith-based organisations and their clergy to support mental health programmes. However, in NI there is notable reluctance to engage with religion and spirituality in mental health, consequently, such engagement is significantly under-examined within research and policy despite greater recognition and increasing empirical evidence supporting its use (Carlisle, 2016).
• Provide insightful training: for those involved in pastoral counselling in churches (including clergy, pastoral carers, youth workers and counsellors), those involved in specialist areas of mental health (including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers) and those in academia (including lecturers, researchers and students).
• Inspire delegates to form a Spirituality and Mental Health Research Forum in Northern Ireland.
• Encourage cross-pollination and creative endeavours in Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Science, Nursing and Theology.
• Open conversations on spiritual and religious psychopathology in mental health and discuss opposing and supporting perspectives.
• Cultivate opportunities for ecumenical, multifaceted, rich interdisciplinary research and training.
• Learn from the advances in the area of spirituality and mental health in Durham University and Duke University.
• Provide an opportunity for delegates to think more innovatively about interdisciplinary approaches.
9.15am – Registration
9.45am -Welcome and introduction of speakers — Prof. Drew Gibson
10.00am -Religion, spirituality and mental health: The role of faith communities — Prof. Harold Koenig
11.00am – Coffee Break
(Union Theological College)
11.20am -Narrative in psychiatry, theology and spirituality — Prof. Chris Cook
12.15pm -Spirituality and Health: From the Patient’s Viewpoint — Mrs Charmin Koenig
12.45pm -Thanks and instructions for lunch — Prof. Drew Gibson
12.45-2.00pm – Lunch
2.00pm – Welcome back, instructions for workshops and reminders to pick up CPD certificates –
Ms Carolyn Blair
2.10pm -Workshop (Session 1) – Choose from one of the following:
Religious psychopathology: The prevalence of religious content of delusions and voice hearing-
Prof. Chris Cook
Spirituality in patient care: Applications in clinical practice- – Prof. Harold Koenig
The Spiritual Challenges of Wife, Mother and Church Member — Mrs Charmin Koenig
Spirituality and Mental Health in Pastoral Care — Prof. Drew Gibson
3.00pm – Coffee break (Union Theological College)
3.20pm Workshop (Session 2) – Choose from one of the following:
Transcendence, Immanence, and Mental Health — Prof. Chris Cook
What Academic Researchers Need to Know: The Spouse’s Perspective — Mrs Charmin Koenig
Obtaining funding for studies on religion, spirituality and mental health and publishing a research paper —
Prof. Harold Koenig
4.00pm Closing thanks — Prof Drew Gibson
It will be open to all but will be most useful for those involved in specialist areas of mental health (including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers) and those in academia (including lecturers, researchers and students) and involved in pastoral counselling in churches (including clergy, pastoral carers, youth workers and counsellors).
Name: Carolyn Blair