Does 'faith' have a role in recovery?

by Liz Lockhart

I have just finished a news feature about the role that 'faith' may play in the recovery of patients when other treatment has been inadequate.

When I put my 'news journalist' hat on I try to remain impatial and report factually, not letting my, all too often, personal opinions influence the feature. 

However, I do have an opinion when it come to this.  For those of you that have not read the feature it is entitled 'Does 'faith' have a role in recovery?'

It details letters from two opposing GPs.  The one is in trouble with the GMC for mentioning 'faith' in a consultation.  He feels that faith can help where other treatment has not - although only if this is acceptable to the patient. The other GP is against this and says that this is an abuse of the 10-minute consultation time given to patients and that he treats with conventional, tried and tested methods.

I can fully see both sides of the agrument but cannot see the harm in being offered an extra option.  I happen to have faith and would feel that a GP had shown care beyond the norm if he mentioned it.  However, if I found this offensive all I would have to do is say 'No Thanks'. 

Many people have been helped by 'faith'.  'Faith' means different things to different people and is difficult to quantify but anything which can be positive has to be a bonus if you ask me.

Please let me know your feelings on the matter.


This is a debate and a half. It will, I am sure, provoke strong feeling on both sides. There are many treatments available today that have their roots in religion and faith - Mindfulness, meditation, even yoga (to name but a few) come from a 'spiritual' root. 'Faith' and spirituality can be a very valuable part of many peoples lives, and for some an aid to recovery.

With this in mind there surely is a place for open discussion about faith in therapy?

However, my concern is finding where to draw the line. GP's are in a position of power, especially over mentally and emotionally vulnerable patients. To discuss the spiritual dimention in recovery could, in some cases be biased by the GP's own faith and religious beliefs. This is ultimately where the problem in this debate lies - What is helpful and offering choice and what is religious propaganda?

Very valid points Charlotte and certainly ones that are due much deserved consideration.

Finding faith changed my life and bought me out of mental illnesses when all else failed

Wonderful - I'm so pleased to hear that.  This certainly makes a good point for Dr Scott.

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IT sure does!
Many is the time I have been offered therapies based on Eastern religion, yet my own, the official religion of the country I live in, is prohibited! When I protest, I get fobbed off with the excuse that they must be valid outside of religion because they work! So does the Gospel. Patients should be free to decline any such treatment without prejudice and doctors should be free to offer a religious solution also wothout prejudice. Dr Scott should be free to promote the Gospel, since other religious solutions eg meditation, yoga... are condoned and often paid for on the NHS. If the Gospel is not allowed, then neither should these other religious practices be. To promote some and ban others in sheer hypocracy.

Well said.  Thank you so much for your very valid comments.  I need to remain somewhat impartial in my reporting of news but my readership seems to say it all for me.

Thank you.  Liz

I believe that DR RICHARD SCOTT G P is helping his patients. Last year I carried out a small piece of research on Forty two mental health people attending two Mental Health Organizations who believe that their faith help them to recover from their mental illnesses and they all requested this as part of their recovery programme. People of all faiths believe in prayers.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - feedback from our readers is always important to us. I too believe in the power of prayer.

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