Engaging theological research with clinical practice

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Project News

Friday, 27th February 2015Seminar Thursday 12 March 2015:
Spirituality and Trauma

This seminar took place on Thursday 12 March 2015, 4.30-6pm in Wallis Room
(St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham - Find St John’s College HERE and Wallis Room HERE).

Revd Elizabeth Baxter, MPhil Executive Director Holy Rood House, Centre for Health and Pastoral Care,
& Revd Stanley Baxter, MA Director of Mission, Holy Rood House, and Vice-Chair of the Guild of Health

To download the Powerpoint Presentation, please click here.

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:


Working with insights drawn from narratives developed within the therapeutic community ‘Holy Rood House’ in Thirsk, we will open up embodied spirituality, theologies and pastoral care that bring liberation and healing from trauma. Through images and storytelling we hope to open a broad and helpful discussion to help us and those among whom we live and work.


Elizabeth and Stanley, both Anglican priests, have pioneered the therapeutic and theological work of Holy Rood House, Centre for Health and Pastoral Care and The Centre for the Study of Theology and Health (www.holyroodhouse.org.uk) since 1993, during which time Stanley was a Mental Health Chaplain. Previously working in an inner city Parish in Leeds for 12 years, Stanley was also a Chaplain at the Leeds University and Elizabeth, Chaplain at Abbey Grange High School. Having met in the East End of London and married in 1970, Stanley and Elizabeth have always been involved in pioneer work and setting up communities. Elizabeth was a youth and community worker prior to ordination. Both have been influenced by liberation theologies, and Elizabeth is a Feminist and Pastoral Theologian, gaining her MPhil in this area. Stanley gained his MA in Conflict Resolution, and set up the first Mediation Service in Leeds and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Both are campaigners and continue to work towards justice and peace.


Thursday, 26th February 2015Seminar Thursday 26 February 2015:
Christian Theology in Dialogue with the Resilience Concept: Possibilities in Paradox and Transcendence

This seminar took place on Thursday 26 February 2015, 4.30-6pm in Wallis Room
(St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham - Find St John’s College HERE and Wallis Room HERE).

Revd Nathan White, PhD Candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, St. John’s College, Durham University

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:


The concept of resilience recently has come into the foreground in disciplines as diverse as psychology, medicine, ecology, economics, and geology. While there has been much use of the concept, there is still a lack of consensus on what is meant by the term and even less grounding of the concept in philosophical or theological accounts. It will be suggested that human psychological resilience can better be understood through dialogue with Christian theology. Potential points of interdisciplinary dialogue will be suggested. Specifically a Christian understanding of suffering will be suggested as a means of insight into the paradoxical nature of human resilience. Additionally, personal, experiential connection to the Transcendent (Rudolph Otto’s das Heilige) will be proposed as foundational to resilience.


Reverend Nathan H. White is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theology and Religion at St. John’s College, Durham University. He has served as a Chaplain in the US Army as a part of the famed 101st Airborne Division and has completed combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds an M.Div degree from Beeson Divinity School and a BA from Wheaton College.


Tuesday, 17th February 2015Research about Religion, Spirituality & Health: Overview & Implications for Spiritual Care

by Professor George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, Professor and Director of Research at Rush University, Chicago


Thursday 26 March 2015 (12-1pm) @ Public Lecture (Leeds Beckett University, Broadcasting Place, BPA G02, Woodhouse Lane Woodhouse Leeds LS2 9EN)


The lecture is free of charge. If you have any questions about the lecture please contact Chris Swift at chris.swift@nhs.net


Click here to view and download the flyer.


George Fitchett

Tuesday, 17th February 2015A Masterclass in Case Study Research

by Professor George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, Professor and Director of Research at Rush University, Chicago


Thursday 26 March 2015 (1.30-4pm)

Researcher Symposium (Leeds Beckett UniversityRose Bowl, RB322, Portland Crescent, Leeds LS1 3HB)


The symposium is free of charge but places must be booked. Please contact Chris Swift at chris.swift@nhs.net to book.


Click here to view and download the yer.


George Fitchett

Thursday, 15th January 2015SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Epiphany Term 2015

SEMINAR PROGRAMME - Epiphany Term 2015

These seminars are open to all staff and students of Durham University and to the general public. However, please be aware that they are aimed at a postgraduate level and are therefore especially suitable for MA, PhD and DThM students, as well as for others engaged in postgraduate study in relevant areas of enquiry.


If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please send an e-mail to Charidimos Koutris (charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk) in order to ensure that a place will be available for you.


Also feel free to visit the Durham University website to Subscribe to these seminars, download future seminars as an iCal calendar file or download the seminar programme in pdf format.


Thursday 12 February 2015 (4.30-6pm) – CANCELLED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM
Life Force
Wallis Room, St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Professor Paul Heelas, Senior Research Professor in the Sociology of Contemporary Spirituality, Department of Sociology, CROCUS research group, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands


Thursday 26 February 2015 (4.30-6pm)
Christian Theology in Dialogue with the Resilience Concept: Possibilities in Paradox and Transcendence
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Revd Nathan White, PhD Candidate, Department of Theology & Religion, Durham University


Thursday 12 March 2015 (4.30-6pm)
Spirituality and Trauma
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Revd Elizabeth Baxter, MPhil Executive Director Holy Rood House, Centre for Health and Pastoral Care
& Revd Stanley Baxter, MA Director of Mission, Holy Rood House, and Vice-Chair of the Guild of Health



Durham University logo (transparent)


Saturday, 23rd March 2013Applications are now being accepted for our
MA/MSc Programmes in Spirituality, Theology & Health
for the academic year 2014-2015

Entry to our MA/MSc programmes 2014-2015 in Spirituality, Theology & Health is still possible for the academic year 2014-2015. These programmes provide a unique opportunity for inter-disciplinary and inter-professional study in this field. They form a good basis both for theological reflection on professional practice and also an introduction to research methods for those who are thinking of working towards a PhD or DThM. They can be pursued part-time or full-time.


To quote one of our MSc students:

Every trip to St John’s College, Durham is eagerly undertaken; not just because Durham is such a fantastic city with a fascinating history and heritage, but because the teaching on the course is to such a high standard, with immensely knowledgeable lecturers who are obviously keen to impart that knowledge and to engage in meaningful debates with the students.


Applications and enquiries from prospective students are always welcomed. For further information, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary in the Department of Theology and Religion, Mrs Susan Tait (e-mail: susan.tait@durham.ac.uk).


Alternatively, you can contact one of the members of Academic Staff to discuss potential thesis topics.


To find out more please click on the Courses tab above, download the Spirituality, Theology & Health MA – MSc Flyer, and visit the Department of Theology & Religion website:


Spirituality, Theology & Health


Friday, 22nd March 2013Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health
edited by Christopher Cook

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Editor: Christopher Cook

ISBN-13: 9780334046264

ISBN-10: 0334046262

Publisher: SCM Press

Format: Paperback

RRP: £45.00

Publish date: 31/05/2013

Flyer: You can view the book’s flyer by clicking here


A few words about the book:

In 2010 a Durham conference on Spirituality, Theology & Mental Health was made possible by support from the Guild of Health. The conference was attended by more than one hundred delegates, from a variety of different professional and academic backgrounds including those working in university departments of theology, anthropology and philosophy, as well as chaplains, clergy and healthcare professionals. The present publication comprises a series of chapters by authors, all of whom presented papers at the conference. It is thus informed by the debate that took place at the conference, but it is more than simply a set of conference proceedings. The aim has been to create a book with multi-disciplinary and multi-professional contributions which show the relevance of theology to healthcare today, and which will provide a resource for postgraduate teaching, research and professional practice.


This book provides reflections from leading international scholars and practitioners in theology, anthropology, philosophy and psychiatry as to the nature of spirituality and its relevance to constructions of mental disorder and mental healthcare. Key issues are explored in depth, including the nature of spirituality and recent debates concerning its importance in contemporary psychiatric practice, relationship between demons and wellbeing in ancient religious texts and contemporary practice, religious conversion, and the nature and importance of myth and theology in shaping human self understanding. These are used as a basis for exploring some of the overarching intellectual and practical issues that arise when different disciplines engage together with an attempt to better understand the relationship between spirituality and mental health and translate their findings into mental healthcare practice.


Are you still unsure why buy this book?

Here are two Commendations by Professors Harold G. Koenig and Sheila the Baroness Hollins


Professors Harold G. Koenig:

Scientists and clinicians will find in this book contributions from theology, philosophy and pastoral practice that will give them new insights into the importance of spirituality in mental healthcare. Theological and inter-disciplinary perspectives offered here help all of us to see things differently. This book is commended to all mental health professionals, chaplains and pastoral carers, and academics wanting a broader perspective on spirituality and mental health.


Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins:

Theology and Mental health will be essential reading for clergy, health professionals and academics from different disciplines who are learning, talking and working together in the hope of better addressing the place of spirituality in mental health care. It’s a fascinating book that’s integrative of spiritual and theological perspectives with clinical and pastoral care, importantly introducing theology into a debate that has largely ignored a contribution from this discipline. Many of the writers explore the boundaries that sometimes separate different domains of expertise and differing values and assumptions in diverse settings.


Consequently, wait no more and pre-order the book here:




Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health by C.Cook

Monday, 15th June 2009Spirituality & Psychiatry

Eds. Chris Cook, Andrew Powell, Andrew Sims, Royal College of Psychiatrists Press, London, 2009

Spirituality and PsychiatrySpirituality & Psychiatry is a new book published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Emerging from the work of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it considers the relevance of spirituality to clinical practice in psychiatry. It is edited by Chris Cook (current Chair of the Special Interest Group and Director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Durham University) along with two past Chairs of the Special Interest Group (Dr Andrew Powell and Professor Andrew Sims). Further information, and the opportunity to purchase the book, is available from the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ website.