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Spirituality and Wellbeing

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Interest in spirituality and wellbeing is rising. However, research in that area is still lacking, in particular from a non-medical perspective. This book shows how the relationship between wellbeing and spirituality is studied by a range of disciplines including religious studies, theology, anthropology, psychology and history. The introduction discusses the term ‘wellbeing’ and introduces the debate on spirituality and wellbeing. The editors give a broad definition of spirituality and show the multifaceted nature of wellbeing and how it is linked to spirituality. Each chapter then reflects on the topic in its unique way which shows the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

The authors represent a rich breadth of disciplines and bring in a range of perspectives. The chapters also link the debate to various religious traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Afro-Brazilian religion and even paranormal experiences that will further the reflection on the link between spirituality and wellbeing.

Published: Mar 15, 2020

Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Bettina Schmidt, Jeff Leonardi
List of Figures Bettina Schmidt, Jeff Leonardi
Introduction Jeff Leonardi, Bettina Schmidt
Section One: Setting the Scene
1. Spirituality and Wellbeing: Is there a Necessary Link? Toward a Critical Approach to the Study of Spirituality Everton de Oliveira Maraldi
2. Clinical Parapsychology: The Interface Between Anomalous Experiences and Psychological Wellbeing Chris Roe
Section Two: The Body in Focus
3. Made in the Image: The Christian Understanding of the Body Jeff Leonardi
4. Spirituality and Wellbeing in Traditional China: Food, Self-Sacrifice, and Spiritual Practice in a Chinese Buddhist Legend Thomas Jansen
5. ‘Spiritus Contra Spiritum’: Spirituality, Belief and Discipline in Alcoholics Anonymous Wendy Dossett
Section Three: The Diversity of Perspectives
6. Narratives of Spirituality and Wellbeing: Cultural Differences and Similarities between Brazil and the UK Bettina Schmidt
7. Using Autoethnography to Explore the Experience of Spirituality in Epilepsy Louise Spiers
8. To Thine Own Self be True: Alcoholics Anonymous, Recovery and Care of the Self Lymarie Rodriguez
Section Four: Applied Practice
9. Religiosity, Spirituality and Wellbeing in the Perception of Brazilian Health and Mental Health Professionals Marta Helena de Freitas
10. Compassionate Presence: Buddhist Practice and the Person-Centred Approach to Counselling and Psychotherapy Rebecca Seale
End Matter
Index Bettina Schmidt, Jeff Leonardi


This book is an excellent contribution to debates surrounding spirituality, religion and wellbeing, and would be a brilliant resource for both those studying these topics and those generally interested in this field. The book is accessible, rich, diverse and interesting, with chapters filled with questions, and with ideas which challenge traditional Western narratives about the location and nature of the religious, paranormal and spiritual in wellbeing and healthcare.
William Temple Foundation

This book answers Sir Alister Hardy’s call for an interdisciplinary approach to religious experience, building on some of the topics covered by previous RERC occasional papers, and taking the important step from academic studies into applied practice. I found this book a refreshing blend of progressive empirically-based research that, at the same time, permits a welcome return to the more philosophical work of Carl Jung and William James. Maraldi identifies a shortcoming of much modern research on spirituality and wellbeing, “The fact is that the ethical and philosophical implications of research on spirituality are rarely or poorly addressed,” (P. 36). This volume, addressing as it does both empirically-based applied practice and deeper philosophical considerations seems to me to be an ethical and necessary step forward, to address this shortcoming.
De Numine