Monday, September 03, 2007

Irreligious psychiatrists


A nationwide survey of the religious beliefs and practices of American physicians has found that the least religious of all medical specialties is psychiatry.
And religious doctors are the least likely to refer a patient to a psychiatrist. What to conclude? The study's authors, from the University of Chicago, draw a lesson that is not complimentary to faithless psychiatrists:
The mismatch in religious beliefs between psychiatrists and patients may make it difficult for patients suffering from emotional or personal problems to find physicians who share their fundamental belief systems.
Is that really a problem? I guess it is if the patient is, as Mia Farrow once said of Woody Allen, basically seeking counselling in order to obtain permission to carry on as they are.

But one explanation for this might be that psychiatrists have more reason to be aware of the reasons why a person might be religious, and aware that it has less to do with the reality of the universe than the religious might hope.

1 comment:

Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

Yeah, but it turns out religious people are happier, on the whole, at least in the US. Muslim Rage Boy would be a sort of outlier. Some would argue that their happiness proves they're deluded and it's better to be miserable, but that's a bit adolescent.

Also, if the patient's problems are caused by his belief in religion, then Mia Farrow would have a point. For example, if he'd been abused in childhood by Thor. If that's not the case, I certainly hope a competent therapist would refrain from "curing" people of stuff that's not causing trouble.

Dunno... I don't "get" all this hostility to religion in general, rather than just the religions that cause trouble. Rather like pretending that normal people who smoke weed now and then belong in the same "drug user" category with crackheads who rob liquor stores.

I neither smoke weed nor believe in God, by the way, nor have I any faith in psychiatry. And I'm a miserable fucker, too.