Talking About Spiritual and Religious Factors in Wellness

Wellness is multi-dimensional, as exhibited by the Eight Dimensions of Wellness webinar, and spirituality and religion can play an important role in wellness and recovery. One does not have to be religious to practice spiritual wellness—it can be defined outside of religious contexts. This two-page factsheet provides information for service providers and clients on how spiritual wellness can support recovery and symptom management.  

While religion has its own set of sacred customs and beliefs, spirituality is a personal matter that does not have to be associated with a specific religion. Spirituality can be self-defined and free from the external constructs of religion, and it can be practiced alone rather than at a specific congregation. Care providers and patients should be aware of the role that spirituality or religion can play in recovery and symptom management for people with behavioral health disorders. Research has shown that individuals who identify as being spiritual or religious experience lower rates of depression and anxiety; there are also indications the religion and spirituality may help individuals manage symptoms of chronic disorders. Care providers can encourage spiritual wellness in their patients through Cultural Activation Prompts (CAPs) that move clients to share an awareness of their own religious or spiritual cultural identities, making it possible to incorporate the strengths of these identities in their course of care. Cultural activation will allow both caregivers and clients to learn what culturally matters in the course of treatment prescribed. Cultural factors can influence how individuals find care or what kind of care they may seek, making a shared understanding of these factors a key component of successful treatment. 

This resource was first shared in 2017. 

(PDF Fact Sheet, External Link)

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