Religious Perspectives in Urban and Rural Mental Health in the Muslim World
Psychiatry and religion both draw upon rich traditions of human thought and practice. In fact, psychiatry is the branch of medicine that most prominently incorporates the humanities and social sciences in its scientific base and in its treatment of illness. It also attempts to explain the full range of human behavior, including behavior associated with mental illness. Psychiatry has often needed to go well beyond the world of natural science into the philosophical realm.
Mental health providers in developed countries are increasingly treating patients whose backgrounds are much different from their own, so it is important for them to understand cultural belief systems including religious thought and practice that relate to mental health and illness.
Historically, the separate functions of religious practice and healing were performed by a single individual in most world cultures. Only with the explosive growth of scientific knowledge in the twentieth century have the roles of religious and medical healers become separate.
Psychiatry and religion are parallel and complementary frames of reference for understanding and describing the human experience and human behavior.
The understanding and interpretation of many psychiatric symptomatology by both patients and their relatives can depend greatly on their rural versus urban upbringing and education.
KeywordsTraditional and nontraditional societies Culture and mental health Role of religion in psychiatry Influence of religion on psychopathology – Expressed emotions in Arab Culture Egyptian perspective Urban and rural backgrounds
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