Engaging theological research with clinical practice

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Project News

Friday, 5th February 2016UPCOMING Seminar Thursday 18 February 2016:
The Spirituality of Forgiveness

This seminar will take place on Thursday 18 February 2016, 4.30-6pm in Etchells Room
(Etchells House, 16 South Bailey, Durham).

Prof. Anthony Bash, Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University; Senior Tutor and Vice-Master at Hatfield College

This paper looks at the nature of spirituality and of forgiveness. Forgiveness is explored from the perspectives of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures. Also explored are the ways in which the ethics of forgiveness may be regarded as part of the spirituality of forgiveness. The spirituality of forgiveness is rooted in interpersonal relationships and examined from that viewpoint.


Anthony Bash is an honorary professor in the Department of Theology and Religion. He assists with teaching New Testament in the Department. He is also Senior Tutor and Vice-Master at Hatfield College. He has been thinking and writing about forgiveness for about 15 years. He is currently researching on remorse.


Tuesday, 12th January 2016Seminar Thursday 28 January 2016:
Chaplains, History and the Theology of R.A.Lambourne: a Response to Elements of the Scottish NHS Policy on Spirituality

This seminar took place on Thursday 28 January 2016, 4.30-6pm in Wallis Room
(St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham).

Dr Jenifer Booth, Writer on mental health issues, Author of Towards a Pre-Modern Psychiatry

Recent developments in chaplaincy in the NHS in Scotland have included “generic chaplaincy” and a new definition of spirituality for the NHS. I wish to discuss these developments by looking at their historical and theological background but also with reference to some of the theology of a doctor- turned- theologian, Robert Lambourne. He was writing in the late 1960s and early 70s but his work seems to have a lot of relevance to current problems in pastoral care. He espouses, in a number of articles and a book, a pastoral theology of “healing activity directed at the whole person in the whole community”. The focus of this talk is on mental health chaplaincy.


Jenifer Booth’s book, Towards a Pre-Modern Psychiatry, applies a modified version of the contemporary Aristotelian philosophy of the ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre to psychiatry. It also uses the feminist philosophy of Luce Irigaray to widen this approach to psychotherapy.

After completing her PhD at the University of Durham, Jenifer spent some time teaching mental health law with a voluntary organisation. This prompted her to write a chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Psychiatric Ethics, asking how mental health law would change if the model of knowledge used in psychiatry were a pre-modern one. She is currently trying to write about mental health and Christian community.


Monday, 11th January 2016SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Epiphany Term 2016

SEMINAR PROGRAMME – Michaelmas Term 2016

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 28 January 2016 (4.30-6pm)
Chaplains, History and the Theology of R. A. Lambourne: a Response to Elements of the Scottish NHS Policy on Spirituality
Wallis RoomSt John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham
by Dr Jenifer Booth,
Writer on mental health issues, Author of Towards a Pre-Modern Psychiatry


Thursday 18 February 2016 (4.30-6pm)
The Spirituality of Forgiveness
Etchells RoomEtchells House16 South Bailey, Durham
by Prof. Anthony Bash,
Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University; Senior Tutor and Vice-Master at Hatfield College


Thursday 25 February 2016 (4.30-6pm)
It’s in the Relationship’ – the harmony of wellbeing, spirituality and science
Etchells RoomEtchells House16 South Bailey, Durham
by Revd Prof. Stephen G. Wright,
FRCN, MBE, Spiritual Director, Sacred Space Foundation


Thursday 17 March 2016 (4.30-6pm)
Perspectives on the Relationship between Statutory Mental Health Services and Faith Communities: A co-produced constructivist grounded theory study
Etchells RoomEtchells House16 South Bailey, Durham
by Revd Julian Raffay,
Specialist Chaplain (Research Education and Development), Spiritual and Pastoral Care Department, Mersey Care NHS Trust; PhD candidate, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University



Durham University logo (transparent)


Saturday, 19th December 2015Spirituality SIG Conference 2016:
“Interfaith and Interface: The Contribution of Faith Groups to Mental Health”

Friday 18 March 2016, RCPsych London


We are pleased to announce that the Spirituality Special Interest Group Spring Conference 2016 is now open for booking



With reports of mental health problems on the rise, we are increasingly relying on services from third sector organisations including faith groups. As spirituality and religion have been rated highly as one of the major sources of hope and strength for service users, it is essential that services know what is happening in their local communities and the efforts that these groups are making to respond to the needs of those with mental illness.

There are a variety of initiatives across a wide range of faiths, and for the ‘spiritual but not religious’ demographic.  Being part of a community and having a sense of belonging is important for our general mental health and recovery from mental illness. We will be discussing the key components of good practice and there will be plenty of time for questions. This will make for a fascinating day of cross cultural and religious ideas and greatly expand our knowledge of third sector provisions, especially focusing on interactions with mental health services.


Key note speakers will include:

  • Daniel Singleton from national inter-faith charity ‘Faith Action’
  • Rt Revd Charles Moth as the lead Catholic Bishop for mental health



£100 standard rate | £50 reduced rate (trainees, retired members, subsidised)


For full details visit the RCPsych website >>


Monday, 24th August 2015Fourth International Conference of the
British Association for the Study of Spirituality
23-26 May 2016,
Chancellors Conference Centre, Manchester

We are delighted to invite you to attend the 4th International Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality. The conference title will be: Can Spirituality transform our world? New frontiers in understanding and exploring contemporary spiritualities. Consideration will be given to the transformative potential in the concept and practice of spirituality when applied to key issues in contemporary society. Through four critical questions the conference aims to re-examine some cherished assumptions in spirituality discourse and push the boundaries of that exploration through the broad interdisciplinary platform on which BASS is founded. Bringing together perspectives as wide ranging as health and social care practice, the creative arts, business and education studies with contemporary religious and spirituality studies, and featuring key-note speakers from the UK, Germany, Ireland and Australia, this conference promises an exciting interdisciplinary encounter while retaining the relaxed atmosphere for which BASS conferences are renowned.


Please click on the links for the Conference Flyer, further information and to book your place online.


We look forward to seeing you at BASS 2016!


Saturday, 23rd March 2013Applications are now being accepted for our
MA/MSc Programmes in Spirituality, Theology & Health
for the academic year 2015-2016

Entry to our MA/MSc programmes 2015-2016 in Spirituality, Theology & Health is still possible for the academic year 2015-2016. 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.