Engaging theological research with clinical practice

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Project News

Friday, 12th December 2014UPCOMING Study Day Saturday 28 February 2015:
Flesh and Blood

This Study Day will take place on Saturday 28 February 2015, 10am-3pm in Prior’s Hall.

This thought-provoking study day looks at the current policy on organ donation and explores how church members can act to increase the number of transplants.

The format will be relaxed and interactive, taking participants through issues of policy, ethics and practice.

SPEAKER: The Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy (National Adviser: Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy, The Church of England)

Booking is essential — contact events@durhamcathedral.co.uk to reserve a place.

Bring your own lunch or eat in the Undercroft Restaurant.

A free event — donations welcome on the day.

Click below to view and download the Leaflet.

Flesh and blood Leaflet

Friday, 31st October 2014Seminar Thursday 13 November 2014:
‘Spirituality’ as an Integration of Religion and Psychology: Problems and Possibilities

This seminar took place on Thursday 13 November 2014, 4.30-6pm in Wallis Room
(St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham - Find St John’s College HERE and Wallis Room HERE).

Dr Fraser Watts, Emeritus Reader in Theology and Science, University of Cambridge

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


The relationship between religion and spirituality is complex; spirituality is sometimes part of religion, sometimes contrasted with it, and sometimes derived from religion but pursued without reference to it (as with mindfulness therapy). Spirituality, like religion, is also complex in the sense of being multi-faceted including (at least) values, assumptions, practices and experiences. Spirituality shares with religion a concern with moral values and a sense of the transcendent that goes beyond naturalism, though it usually conceptualizes the transcendent in more impersonal, non-anthropomorphic ways. It will be suggested that spirituality is often a hybrid between psychology and religion that integrates elements of both, though its hybrid nature can make it difficult to sustain in a coherent way, and it can easily tip over into being either just religion or just psychology.  On the other hand, the hybrid nature of spirituality gives it a breadth and resonance that neither religion nor psychology alone can match. Spirituality can be approached from either a psychological or religious starting point, and examples of both will be discussed.


Fraser Watts is Emeritus Reader in Theology and Science in the University of Cambridge, where he was Director of the Psychology and Religion Research Group and a Fellow of Queens’ College. He is a former President of the British Psychological Society and of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a former Chair of the British Association of Christians in Psychology. He remains Research Director of the Cambridge Institute for Applied Psychology and Religion. His books include Theology and Psychology (Ashgate, 2002); Psychology for Christian Ministry (with Rebecca Nye and Sara Savage, Routledge, 2002); Forgiveness in Context (edited with Liz Gulliford, T & T Clark, 2004); Jesus and Psychology (DLT, 2007); Spiritual Healing: Scientific and Religious Perspectives (CUP, 2011); Head and Heart: Perspectives from Religion and Psychology (edited with G Dumbreck, Templeton Press, 2013) Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science: Critical and Constructive Essays (edited with L Turner, OUP, 2014).


Thursday, 30th October 2014Seminar Thursday 30 October 2014:
Spirituality at Work and the Leadership Challenge

This seminar took place on Thursday 30 October 2014, 4.30-6pm in Wallis Room
(St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham - Find St John’s College HERE and Wallis Room HERE).

Professor Roger Gill, Visiting Professor of Leadership Studies, Durham Business School, Durham University, UK

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



Human beings have an animating need for meaning, purpose and a sense of value or worth in what they do. More and more managers and employees – particularly those in industries in which the profit motive is commonplace – are seeking meaning in their work associated more closely with their personal values and beliefs or the need for personal fulfilment rather than just creating material wealth. This trend is reflected in a growing sense of spirituality in the workplace and, in turn, an increasing academic interest in workplace spirituality, spiritual intelligence and spiritual leadership.

Some managers, however, have viewed workplace spirituality with disdain – as yet another management fad, as self-indulgent sentimentality or as a dangerous innovation. Others have eagerly adopted workplace spirituality as a ‘progressive’, ‘must-do’ initiative that is the latest fashion. And there are the few who cynically see workplace spirituality as another source of competitive advantage and rich ‘rewards’.

The concept of spirituality at work has come to incorporate or transcend religiousness or even to replace it with a secular humanist view that also involves looking inward at oneself. Spirituality is linked closely to the empowerment and engagement of people at work. The empowerment and engagement of people at work in turn are associated not only with their effectiveness but also with their well-being and happiness. In this respect, spiritual intelligence is needed for effective and ethical leadership.

Spiritual leadership concerns creating or providing meaning, purpose and value for people based on a sense of shared vision, shared purpose and shared values and beliefs. The spiritual needs of people at work pose a growing challenge to those in leadership positions in business and in society at large.



Roger Gill is Visiting Professor of Leadership Studies at Durham University Business School and an independent consultant in leadership and leadership development.  He is supervising doctoral research in leadership in the Royal Navy in the Business School and in workplace spirituality and leadership in Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion.

He was formerly Professor of Business Administration (Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management) and Director of Executive Development Programmes at the University of Strathclyde Graduate Business School and the founder and Director of the Research Centre for Leadership Studies at the Leadership Trust Foundation, a non-profit provider of leadership development programmes, as well as Director of their joint MBA in Leadership Studies.  He has worked at university business schools in the UK (at Bradford and Queen’s, Belfast), Germany (Tias-NIMBAS), France (Rennes) and the USA (State University of New York at Binghamton and Rutgers University), in management consultancy in the UK, the Gulf region and Southeast and East Asia (including running his own consultancy in Singapore for eight years), and in human resource management in the engineering, computer and textile industries in England.

Roger is a graduate in psychology and philosophy (MA, St Peter’s College, Oxford), occupational psychology (BPhil., Liverpool) and management (PhD, Bradford), a Chartered Psychologist, and a Fellow of the Leadership Trust Foundation.  His book, Theory and Practice of Leadership, 2nd Edition (SAGE Publications, 2011), was shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute’s “Management Book of the Year” and “Management Textbook of the Year” Awards in January 2013.

Roger’s current research interests are the definition and concepts of leadership and an integrative model, leadership and organizational change, and leadership and spirituality. He has published two previous books and numerous scholarly and practitioner articles on leadership, leadership development, organizational behaviour and human resource management.  His new book, Sustaining Change in Organizations, co-authored with Julie Hodges in the Business School, will be published by SAGE Publications in December this year.


Friday, 10th October 2014Seminar Thursday 23 October 2014:
Rediscovering a ministry of health: Whole person health care through the local church

This seminar took place on Thursday 23 October 2014, 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 Dr Helen Wordsworth, R.N., R.M., R.H.V., (tutor), R.N.T., M.Th., D.Min., CEO, Parish Nursing Ministries UK

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


The church has been involved in health care throughout its history but with the advent of the NHS its role in the UK health scene has gradually declined. Yet there are theological and missiological reasons for the church’s engagement with health. This seminar demonstrates one practical way in which local churches can re-engage with the health needs of their local community and enables discussion around the implications of this for the mission of a local church.


After 14 years of experience in the NHS, culminating in a Community Health Nurse Tutor post, Revd. Dr. Helen Wordsworth began theological training and was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1995. She has since worked at regional ecumenical level within the Baptist Union, specialising in mission consultancy. She has founded and developed the initiative of parish nursing within the UK, and has engaged in doctoral research on this topic from a practical theology perspective.


Wednesday, 1st October 2014SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Michaelmas Term 2014

SEMINAR PROGRAMME - Michaelmas Term 2014

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 23 October 2014 (4.30-6pm)
Rediscovering a ministry of health: Whole person health care through the local church
Wallis Room, St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Revd Dr Helen Wordsworth, R.N., R.M., R.H.V., (tutor), R.N.T., M.Th., D.Min., CEO, Parish Nursing Ministries UK


Thursday 30 October 2014 (4.30-6pm)
Spirituality at Work and the Leadership Challenge
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Professor Roger Gill, Visiting Professor of Leadership Studies, Durham Business School, Durham University, UK


Thursday 13 November 2014 (4.30-6pm)
‘Spirituality’ as an Integration of Religion and Psychology: Problems and Possibilities
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Dr Fraser Watts, Emeritus Reader in Theology and Science, University of Cambridge, UK


Thursday 27 November 2014 (4.30-6pm) - CANCELLED 
The therapeutic value of Evagrian prayer on depression
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Mrs Dove Jang, PhD candidate in PhD candidate in Spirituality, Theology & Health, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, UK


Thursday 4 December 2014 (4.30-6pm) - CANCELLED 
A psychological approach to evil eye: an understanding of the impact of evil eye to individuals’ mental health
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Mr Nikolaos Souvlakis, PhD candidate in Spirituality, Healing and Mental Health, MA, Msc, Bsc, Clinical Supervisor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Psychometric Tester, Critical Incident Manager. MBPsS, BACP reg., PTC, IAFP, EFPA


Durham University logo


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.