Religiosity and spirituality in psychiatry residency programs: why, what, and how to teach?


Braz. J. Psychiatry




Objective: To propose a core curriculum for religiosity and spirituality (R/S) in clinical practice for psychiatry residency programs based on the available evidence. Methods: After performing a review of studies on the implementation of R/S curricula and identifying the most commonly taught topics and teaching methods, an R/S curriculum was developed based on the most prevalent strategies, as well as recommendations from psychiatric associations, resulting in a fairly comprehensive R/S curriculum that is simple enough to be easily implemented, even where there is a shortage of time and of faculty expertise. Results: The curriculum is a twelve-hour course (six 2-hour sessions). The topics include: concepts and evidence regarding R/S and mental health relationships, taking a spiritual history/case formulation, historical aspects and research, main local R/S traditions, differential diagnosis between spiritual experiences and mental disorders, and R/S integration in the approach to treatment. The teaching methods include: classes, group discussions, studying guidelines, taking spiritual histories, panels, field visits, case presentations, and clinical supervision. The evaluation of residents includes: taking a spiritual history and formulating an R/S case. The program evaluation includes: quantitative and qualitative written feedback. Conclusions: A brief and feasible core R/S curriculum for psychiatry residency programs is proposed; further investigation of the impact of this educational intervention is needed.

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