Original Research

Referral and collaboration between South African psychiatrists and religious or spiritual advisers: Views from some psychiatrists

Albert Bernard-Repsold Janse van Rensburg, Marie Poggenpoel, Christopher Paul Szabo, Chris P H Myburgh
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 20, No 2 | a533 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v20i2.533 | © 2014 Albert Bernard-Repsold Janse van Rensburg, Marie Poggenpoel, Christopher Paul Szabo, Chris P H Myburgh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 November 2013 | Published: 30 July 2014

About the author(s)

Albert Bernard-Repsold Janse van Rensburg, Department of Psychiatry, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa
Christopher Paul Szabo, Department of Psychiatry, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa
Chris P H Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, South Africa

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Abstract

Background. Referral between psychiatrists and spiritual workers (e.g. Christian pastoral care workers, traditional healers, imams, rabbis and others) in the heterogeneous South African (SA) society is complicated and requires investigation to establish appropriate norms. 

Objective. To capture the views of some local psychiatrists on referral and collaboration between SA psychiatrists and religious or spiritual advisers. 

Methods. This explorative qualitative study involved indepth, semistructured interviews with 13 local academic psychiatrists selected through purposive sampling. Each participant had a single interview with the aim of exploring themes related to the referral and collabora­tion process between psychiatrists and spiritual advisers. Theme content analysis of interview transcripts was done. Results for one of the six identified themes are reported; other results are reported elsewhere. 

Results. Within the theme ‘referral and collaboration between psychiatrists and spiritual professionals’, three subthemes were identified: facilitating appropriate referral and intervention for individual users; information sharing and mutual awareness between disciplines; and addressing stigmatisation of users with psychiatric conditions.

Conclusion. Dialogue between psychiatrists and religious or spiritual advisers should be developed on an individual practitioner and facility basis, as well as on an organised basis between representative societies. The process of formalising a relationship between local psychiatrists and different spiritual workers may, however, still have some way to go.


Keywords

referral; collaboration; psychiatrists; religious spiritual advisers

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Crossref Citations

1. A call for collaboration: Perception of religious and spiritual leaders on mental health (A Portuguese sample)
Jaclin Freire, Carla Moleiro, David H. Rosmarin, Marina Freire
Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health  first page: 1  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/19349637.2017.1423001