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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?
    Monday, January 10, 2005
    By Jennifer Warner, WebMD Medical News

    Doctors Usually Balance Respect for Beliefs and Best Interests of Patient

    Jan. 10, 2005 -- When a person's faith conflicts with their doctor's medical advice, the road to recovery may become more difficult to navigate but not impossible, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that when religion and medicine conflict, most doctors appear able to navigate the tension while keeping the patient's well-being in mind.

    Many patients use their religious beliefs and values to understand, cope, and guide their personal health decisions, and these beliefs often conflict with their doctor's recommendations. But researchers say it's not clear how doctors negotiate these disagreements.

    "There is often a tension between respecting the patient's religious beliefs and pursuing the patient's best interests," says researcher Farr Curlin, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, in a news release. "We explored the ways doctors negotiate that tension, how they balance respect for a patient's beliefs against their own commitment to promote and protect a patient's health."

    When Religion and Medicine Collide
    In the study, researchers interviewed 21 doctors in order to explore how they handle conflicts between medicine and religion. Of the doctors interviewed, seven identified themselves as non-religious, six as Protestant, four as Jewish, two as Catholic, one as Hindu, and one as Buddhist.

    The results of the study appear in the Jan. 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

    The study showed that nearly all of the doctors related examples in which their patients had used religious beliefs to characterize their disagreement with medical recommendations.

    Overall, researchers found patients most often refuse medical recommendations for religious reasons in situations when the medical situation is unclear and the proposed treatment offers moderate possibilities of benefit or in situations in which treatment is intended to decrease risks in the future.

    Doctors were most disturbed by cases in which the conflict was not between science and medicine but between "different worldviews," such as patients or families who insisted that "life in any form was better than death" and demanded aggressive treatments against the doctor's advice.

    The study also showed that doctors were aggravated by patients who had no moral objection to a particular therapy but simply chose faith over medicine. Several doctors recalled cases in which there was an effective treatment but the patient chose to wait and rely on prayer instead.

    But researchers found that if doctors believed their patient would suffer harm by not following their medical recommendations due to their religious beliefs, they would attempt to persuade the patient to reconsider his or her decision.

    "Our findings suggest that physicians always navigate a balance between respect for patient autonomy (remaining open-minded and flexible) and concern for the patient's good (persuading the patient to adhere to recommendations)," write Curlin and colleagues. "Rather than striving for illusory neutrality, physicians should practice an ethic of candid, respectful dialogue in which they negotiate accommodations that allow them to respectfully work together with patients, despite their different ways of understanding the world."

    SOURCES: Curlin, F. Archives of Internal Medicine, Jan. 10, 2005; vol 165: pp 88-91. News release, University of Chicago Medical Center.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    This is interesting. While it speaks mainly to physical ailments, my doctor (therapist) is also a Catholic priest. This has been invaluable to me in allowing me to ensure my personal beliefs are incorporated into my psychological healing.

    There is a book out there called Psychological Seduction. I haven't read the whole thing, but the jist of it is that you cannot believe in both psychology and religion - you have to pick one over the other. I believe the two are complimentary to each other, and this also applies to my physical well-being. I know I would be in much worse condition if my faith was not crucial to my physical and psychological health.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    This is interesting. While it speaks mainly to physical ailments, my doctor (therapist) is also a Catholic priest. This has been invaluable to me in allowing me to ensure my personal beliefs are incorporated into my psychological healing.

    There is a book out there called Psychological Seduction. I haven't read the whole thing, but the jist of it is that you cannot believe in both psychology and religion - you have to pick one over the other. I believe the two are complimentary to each other, and this also applies to my physical well-being. I know I would be in much worse condition if my faith was not crucial to my physical and psychological health.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    the jist of it is that you cannot believe in both psychology and religion - you have to pick one over the other. I believe the two are complimentary to each other
    I would agree with you in most cases, BG.

    Depending on an individuals' specific religious beliefs, I think there is a potential for a "clash" between faith and medicine (e.g., opposition to blood transfusions and certain other treatments), but I don't think spirituality and medicine or psychotherapy are at all at odds with one another the majority of the time. Indeed, when dealing with certain issues (for example, grief), the two can complement one another in powerful ways.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    the jist of it is that you cannot believe in both psychology and religion - you have to pick one over the other. I believe the two are complimentary to each other
    I would agree with you in most cases, BG.

    Depending on an individuals' specific religious beliefs, I think there is a potential for a "clash" between faith and medicine (e.g., opposition to blood transfusions and certain other treatments), but I don't think spirituality and medicine or psychotherapy are at all at odds with one another the majority of the time. Indeed, when dealing with certain issues (for example, grief), the two can complement one another in powerful ways.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    As the Christian book Psychological Seduction points out, there are similarities between Buddhism and modern psychology. Other books like Living Buddha, Living Christ have pointed out the many similarities between Christian and Buddhist philosophy. Therefore, Christianity and psychology probably have a lot in common, too.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    As the Christian book Psychological Seduction points out, there are similarities between Buddhism and modern psychology. Other books like Living Buddha, Living Christ have pointed out the many similarities between Christian and Buddhist philosophy. Therefore, Christianity and psychology probably have a lot in common, too.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    As I think you have noted before, Daniel, there also a few therapists now combining Buddhist mindfulness practices and other elements of Buddhism with psychotherapy, Mark (surname?), author of Thoughts Without A Thinker, being one of them.

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    What Happens When Faith and Medicine Clash?

    As I think you have noted before, Daniel, there also a few therapists now combining Buddhist mindfulness practices and other elements of Buddhism with psychotherapy, Mark (surname?), author of Thoughts Without A Thinker, being one of them.

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    Scares me...

    Somethings can't seem to be explained, all these miracles that happend on this planet, it gets to me cause I have my own way of believing. Like that quote saying how psychology complements many things in the Bible (Religion). The strangest things seem to happen though.

    I was told the other day that at a friends church this boy stood up and said that he read or heard that a old lady that burned severely on her hands, and refused to go to the hospital. Later on a man came to her and prayed over her hand, and the next day, miraclously it was "better"...

    I dont understand how could this ever be possible, why is'nt this stuff all over the news when it happends. I think its a big Catholic/Christian conspiracy to get people to believe, or they are all seeing things.
    I really don't know. What do you say to this stuff?

    Check out this message post site full of "Miracles."

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