07 November 2014
Professor Chris Cook was the keynote speaker at AWP's
Spirituality and Mental Health Conference on 16 October.
He congratulated everyone for organising and attending one of
the biggest conferences of its type that he has attended.
In the first session of the day, a talk entitled 'Spirituality,
Theology & Mental Health', Professor Cook noted the rapid
increase in published research on spirituality and mental health
since the turn of the millennium. He observed that although we are
moving away from viewing service users' spiritual or religious
beliefs as part of their 'pathology', there is still much work for
mental health professionals to do in acknowledging and working
constructively with service user's spiritual and religious
'Intelligent Kindness' was the theme for the second session and
looked at the culture within the NHS and how things can go wrong
without wisdom and compassion - Conference attendees were invited
to explore how such naturally-arising human qualities might be
fostered in the workplace.
The afternoon provided four workshops presenting perspectives on
spirituality and mental health from the Buddhist and Christian
traditions; an exploration of voice-hearing; and the service user
perspective on the theme of 'from breakdown to breakthrough'.
There was a unanimously positive response from Conference
attendees who provided written feedback at the end of the day -
'inspirational' and 'thought-provoking' were two repeated comments.
Many suggestions were also put forward for the next conference -
however the general tone can be summed up in one attendee's
comment: more please!