Culturally and religiously sensitive psychological help - from a Jewish perspective

K M Loewenthal, M B Rogers, S King-Spooner (Editor), C Newnes (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

191 Downloads (Pure)


This bit is to tell you something about who I am and where I am coming from. I read recently that it was a good idea to do this before writing up qualitative research, but I can’t see why it can’t be done before writing about any kind of research, or indeed any kind of psychology, qualitative research or otherwise.<br /> I am an orthodox Jew, strictly orthodox, and a common corollary of that is having a very large number of children. As the years go by, we have an increasingly large number of grandchildren. I am also an academic psychologist. I started off my academic career in the 1960s by doing a thesis on the relations between thinking and speaking, and particularly the question of whether the outcome of thinking was affected by talking about it. When I began teaching, I felt that I stood with a foot in social psychology, and a foot in cognitive psychology, and for many years I taught both. But I got softer and softer, or perhaps it was harder to find people to teach social psychology, so I began to teach more and more social psychology, and less and less cognitive psychology. Then my boss, the late Brian Foss, met a philosophy professor from Kings College (London), the late Hywel Lewis. Lewis was looking for psychologist to teach the psychology of religion, and I think I was the only psychologist that Brian knew who didn’t think religion was a meaningless word. So I began teaching the psychology of religion, and which got me interested in personality theory, including psychodynamic theory, and psychometrics, as well as doing the kind of research in which the researcher collects accounts of people’s experiences. I am still a bit confused about what personality is, and about what is being measured in psychometrics, but in spite of this - or, more likely, because of this – I began teaching personality, and psychometrics. Meanwhile the number of my children grew, and I began wondering about Brown & Harris’s (1978) report that women with several young children to care for, were more vulnerable to depression. The anthropologist, Jeanette Kupferman (1979) thought that strictly-orthodox Jewish women might be more cheerful in their lifestyle full of boundaries and rules, large families notwithstanding. I wondered who was right. Tirril Harris was very encouraging about the idea of doing a replay of the Brown & Harris Camberwell and Hebridean studies among orthodox Jews, and I was happy to get some funding for this work. This led me deeper and deeper into issues relating religion and mental health. As the younger children grew older, I began to write and publish more and more on different aspects of religion and mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpirituality and psychotherapy
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherRoss-on-Wye : PCCS
ISBN (Print)189805939X
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Cite this