Indian health care professionals' attitude towards spiritual healing and its role in alleviating stigma of psychiatric services.


Journal Article

Persons with mental illnesses in India and rest of developing world continue to consult religious/spiritual (R/S) healers or traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) professionals prior to seeking psychiatric services that are devoid of spiritual components of care. We aim to understand TCAM and allopathic professionals' perspectives on patients' R/S needs within mental health services, cross-sectional study was conducted at five TCAM and two allopathic tertiary care hospitals in three different Indian states; 393 participants completed RSMPP, a self-administered, semi-structured survey questionnaire. Perspectives of TCAM and allopathic health professionals on role of spirituality in mental health care were compared. Substantial percentage, 43.7 % TCAM and 41.3 % allopathic, of participants believe that their patients approach R/S or TCAM practitioners for severe mental illness; 91.2 % of TCAM and 69.7 % of allopaths were satisfied with R/S healers (p = 0.0019). Furthermore, 91.1 % TCAM and 73.1 % allopaths (p = 0.000) believe that mental health stigma can be minimized by integrating with spiritual care services. Overall, 87 % of TCAM and 73 % of allopaths agreed to primary criterion variable: 'spiritual healing is beneficial and complementary to psychiatric care.' A quarter of allopaths (24.4 %) and 38 % of TCAM physicians reportedly cross-refer their grieving patients to religious/TCAM healer and psychiatrist/psychologist, respectively; on logistic regression, significant (p < 0.05) predictors were clinical interactions/references to r/s healers. Providing spiritual care within the setup of psychiatric institution will not only complement psychiatric care but also alleviate stigma against mental health services. Implications on developing spiritual care services like clinical chaplaincy are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ramakrishnan, P; Rane, A; Dias, A; Bhat, J; Shukla, A; Lakshmi, S; Ansari, BK; Ramaswamy, RS; Reddy, RA; Tribulato, A; Agarwal, AK; SatyaPrasad, N; Mushtaq, A; Rao, PH; Murthy, P; Koenig, HG

Published Date

  • December 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1800 - 1814

PubMed ID

  • 24430129

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24430129

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-6571

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10943-014-9822-6


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States