Mental Health, Religion & Culture
This book provides a cogent argument for the integration of spirituality into our understanding of psychology. It does this by understanding spirituality in largely psychological terms, although it is not completely without its theological or philosophical reflections. It has relevance particularly, but not exclusively to the healthcare context. The author's professional experience as a psychiatrist, and the focus on spirituality, make it particularly relevant to those working in mental healthcare. I can see the book playing a useful part as an undergraduate or master's level text and I expect it will be an appreciated resource in the worlds of clinical, chaplaincy, and other professional training.
The Merton Journal
This is a book which will find an appreciative readership amongst many in the healthcare field. Practitioners and others have been given a comprehensive and insightful guide to both the sources and the drivers of the growing research interest into the relationship of spirituality to healing and wellbeing. It will serve also as a textbook and general encouragement to clinicians looking for ways to develop comprehensive holistic models of assessment and care for their patients... The recovery of the concept of "spirituality" in contemporary discourse across many disciplines as well as in the popular imagination is a major cultural phenomenon of our time. It is to a wider general audience as well as to those practicing in healthcare environments that Culliford addresses himself. He succeeds well in this difficult task and the outcome is a competent and illuminating piece of work that will have many applications in healthcare, but also more widely wherever there is an openness to looking at fresh ways of presenting universal insights into the processes of spiritual development and self-understanding.
Dr Culliford distinguishes between spirituality and religion. With discussion questions and clear summaries, this will be a useful book for introductory courses on the subject. It may be most useful for those who see no case at all for spirituality in the consulting room - assuming they enter with an open mind.
The intersection of religion/spirituality, psychology, and mental health has been a tenuous one until recently. With the advent of postmodernism, the previously held boundaries that separated religion and science are being reconsidered. Larry Culliford's work "The Psychology of Spirituality: An Introduction" is just such a book to bridge the gap. He offers a clear and cogent model for psycho-spiritual growth and development. Culliford describes a template for integrating psychological and spiritual development in the same breath; that is, we are all spiritual beings on a human journey, and both spiritual and psychological domains are essential to be fully human.... As someone who enjoys the integration of spirituality, psychology, and mental health within a multicultural context, I think this book is ideal. It is pragmatic and inspiring, rational and poetic, psychological and spiritual in its fullest sense. Following the sage advice "Physician, heal thyself," I recommend it to all levels of inquiry, personal and professional.
The book is well structured and easy to read. It sorts its material effortlessly into straightforward categories and carries the reader painlessly along. Each chapter concludes with a helpful summary and exercises to enable the reader to incorporate its teachings into their life. It is in places delightfully illustrated with both personal and clinical anecdote, and with some examples from published sources such as Barack Obama's life. The chapter on the author's own teaching programme for medical students using a refreshingly simple and effective approach to taking a spiritual history was particularly welcome - I only wish such a programme were universally in evidence!
Unlike some psychoanalytical writings, however, this book is very accessible, and is an excellent introduction to the spiritual dimension in theory and practice. It complements the various books written by John Swinton and other practical theologians, and is a very welcome contribution from a medical practitioner.
Journal for the Study of Spirituality
this book is more than an enlightening introductory text. It is a masterpiece of explanation and interactive teaching about a highly complex and comprehensive subject. The book is a training text aimed principally at health and social care professionals and students and people from related disciplines, but I believe that this is a 'must read' for anyone interested in the subject. The brilliant Preface sets the contents into context considering quantum physics with particular reference to non-locality and chaos theory and their links to spiritual principles, in a most accessible and logical way. It continues by addressing a variety of topics, including issues such as the importance and relevance of spirituality in everyday life, for both children and adults, and is filled with engaging and often moving anecdotes and vignettes about the author's subjective experiences as well as those of others, bringing the subject alive and imbued with personal meaning. We are shown how adversity can be seen as presenting opportunities for spiritual development and the book explains in detail how emotional healing leads directly to personal growth... In short I think this is a brilliant book which anyone interested in spirituality or who is simply on his or her own spiritual path should read. It is exciting, inspiring and uplifting. I feel that whatever I say will not be able to do justice to this remarkable, learned, yet accessible and very practical book. I feel blessed to have been asked to review it.
The Canadian Art Therapy Association
Dr. Larry Culliford provides compelling inspiration for us to not only ensure that we share our stories of spirituality in our art therapy practices but also that we take seriously the need to study and promote further inquiry into the area of spirituality and psychology. In this seminal work in the field of psychology and spirituality, Dr. Culliford adds his voice backed up by thorough research to advocate strongly for the shift to a holistic 'bio-psycho-socio-spiritual' paradigm in the field of mental health... Dr. Larry Culliford has made an important contribution in this foundational work in the area of spirituality and psychology. He must be commended for his courage to explore new territory and challenge the existing worldview in his book 'The Psychology of Spirituality: An Introduction'. Let's hope that we rise to the occasion, activate spiritual enquiry in our own lives as well as in our art therapy practices and assist the need for research and movement into the realms beyond scientific materialism.
British Journal of Psychology
... a welcome addition to an important, if not essential, topic of human experience. I therefore recommend this book wholeheartedly to those who are interested in adventure, curious about the spiritual domain, or those looking for practical skills and abilities to learn about how to navigate the adventure playground of their own inner lives.
Professor Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry, University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr. Culliford has written a magnificent book that is both erudite and beguilingly accessible. The person on the spiritual quest, whether from a traditionally religious or from a more secular perspective, will gain insights and hope between the covers of this work. The continuing disputes between science and spirituality are explored and, ultimately, integrated and the reader will emerge enlightened and enlivened.
Dr. Harold G. Koenig, Director, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, USA
This ground breaking book is a welcome insight into the fundamental link between spirituality and psychology. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of this connection and how spirituality can help enhance psychological wellbeing.
Reverend Professor John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, University of Aberdeen, UK
What exactly is the relationship between spirituality and psychology? Larry Culliford presents a clear, honest and enlightening exploration of the relationship between spirituality and psychology; an account which takes seriously the integrity of both but refuses to allow one to collapse into the other. This book will be valuable for practitioners and all those who are seeking new ways of helping people to see and understand the significance of the spiritual in their practises of care.
Mary Hanna, Chaplain, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, UK
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is extremely relevant for my degree course in Health Care Chaplaincy and I have recommended it to my fellow students. It is not only very accessible but a real joy to read. I read it from cover to cover for the sheer enjoyment of it.
Journal for the Study of Spirituality
I think this brilliant book which anyone interested in spirituality or who is simply on his or her own spiritual path should read. It is exciting, inspiring and uplifting. I feel that whatever I say will not be able to do justice to this remarkable, learned, yet accessible and very practical book. I feel blessed to have been asked to review it.
Culliford's introduction to the psychology of religion provides definitions of spirituality and religion, paradigms deployed by health professionals in the past that have undergone a major shift (he explores the reasons why), appendices that include his template for taking a spiritual history and wealth of medical and theological sources and personal anecdotes. It is skilfully conceived potpourri--unthreatening and informative.
Mental Health, Religion and Culture.
Culliford has a light and fluid writing style which makes ready links with the literature and with everyday life and clinical practice... This book provides a cogent argument for the integration of spirituality into our understanding of psychology... The author's professional experience as a psychiatrist, and the focus on spirituality, make it particularly relevant to those working in mental healthcare. I can see the book playing a useful part as an undergraduate or master's level text and I expect it will be an appreciated resource in the worlds of clinical, chaplaincy, and other professional training.
This is a very important book for all those who have to try and make sense of 'spirituality', particularly those in secular organisations like the NHS, or semi-secular organisations like church schools.