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.