Spirituality and religion in Canadian psychiatric residency training

Can J Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;48(3):171-5. doi: 10.1177/070674370304800305.


Objective: Mental health professionals are increasingly aware of the need to incorporate a patient's religious and spiritual beliefs into mental health assessments and treatment plans. Recent changes in assessment and treatment guidelines in the US have resulted in corresponding curricular changes, with at least 16 US psychiatric residency programs now offering formal training in religious and spiritual issues. We present a survey of training currently available to Canadian residents in psychiatry and propose a lecture series to enhance existing training.

Methods: We surveyed all 16 psychiatry residency programs in Canada to determine the extent of currently available training in religion and spirituality as they pertain to psychiatry.

Results: We received responses from 14 programs. Of these, 4 had no formal training in this area. Another 4 had mandatory academic lectures dedicated to the interface of religion, spirituality, and psychiatry. Nine programs offered some degree of elective, case-based supervision.

Conclusion: Currently, most Canadian programs offer minimal instruction on issues pertaining to the interface of religion, spirituality, and psychiatry. A lecture series focusing on religious and spiritual issues is needed to address this apparent gap in curricula across the country. Therefore, we propose a 10-session lecture series and outline its content. Including this lecture series in core curricula will introduce residents in psychiatry to religious and spiritual issues as they pertain to clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Culture
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Spirituality*