Reliance upon personal spirituality and religious coping is the major resource employed by people worldwide when coping with harsh adversities, including mental and physical illnesses and political oppression. Clinical competencies for integrating individuals’ spiritual and religious resources into psychiatric treatment are vital to the effectiveness of mental health services for U.S. immigrant and refugee populations and for the populations of low- and middle-income countries. Engagement of spiritual resources often serves an essential role in enabling recovery from torture.
The GW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has had a longstanding collaborative relationship with the George Washington University Institute on Spirituality and Health (GWISH) at both faculty and residency levels. Drs. James Griffith and Allen Dyer have served as faculty in GWISH workshops and conferences and have published books, journal articles, and book chapters on the role of spirituality in coping with medical illnesses, psychiatric illnesses, and human catastrophes across cultures. Dr. Dyer represented GWISH in a recent WHO conference on the role of spirituality in health care. GW psychiatry residents have numerous opportunities to collaborate on clinical and research projects on the role of spirituality in psychiatric treatment and mental health services.