South African Society of Psychiatrists guidelines for the integration of spirituality in the approach to psychiatric practice

Albert B R Janse van Rensburg
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 20, No 4 | a593 | DOI: | © 2014 Albert B R Janse van Rensburg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 March 2014 | Published: 30 November 2014

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Background. It was important to develop South African guidelines in view of the extent of local and worldwide religious affiliation, rapid growth of academic investigation, guidelines provided by other associations (e.g. Royal College of Psychiatrists), the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP)’s own position statements on culture, mental health and psychiatry, the appropriate definition of spirituality, the need for an evolutionary and anthropological approach, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V)’s cultural formulation, local legislation, ongoing research, and teaching requirements. 

Objective. To report on the outcome of the peer-reviewed process that was followed to draft local guidelines for psychiatric training and practice. 

Methods. During 2013, comments by members of the SASOP on a framework for guidelines on the role of spirituality in psychiatry practice and training were collated and subsequently submitted to the SASOP board for approval. 

Results. Guidelines were compiled in terms of: (i) integrating spirituality in clinical care and service provision; (ii) integrating spirituality in psychiatric training; (iii) ethically integrating spirituality within the professional scope of practice; and (iv) appropriate referral between psychiatrists and spiritual advisors. 

Conclusions. Integrating spirituality in the approach to practice and training cannot be ignored by local psychiatrists in the multicultural, multireligious and spiritually diverse South African context.


Spirituality Practice Training Guidelines


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