Religion and spirituality in recovery pathways of high secure service users

Emily Glorney, Jessica Allen, Amy Lawson, Sophie Raymont, Darren Lumbard

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objectives: The value of religion/spirituality in recovery is not unknown within the literature on psychosis and within mental health services where engagement with the recovery process is not hindered by the contextual challenges – such as choice, ownership and hope - faced within forensic mental health services. The benefits of religion/spirituality for people living through experiences of either mental disorder or incarceration are well-researched as are, to a lesser extent, the disadvantages. Limited attention has been paid to forensic mental health service users; this research aimed to explore the personal meanings that religion/spirituality held in the recovery journeys of high secure service users.
Design: A semi-structured interview design was adopted.
Method: Thirteen men across levels of care within a high secure hospital and with a self-identified religious/spiritual identity were interviewed individually. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was applied for in-depth exploration of the personal meanings and lived experience of religion/spirituality for the participants.
Results: Three superordinate themes reflected service users’ experiences of the role of religion/spirituality in personal recovery and challenges that may prevent this role from being fully facilitated. Religion and spirituality as 1) providing a framework for recovery, 2) supporting personal development and internalisation of rehabilitation, 3) a systemic and individual obstacle.
Conclusion: Among participants in this study, religion/spirituality was experienced as a conduit to many factors central to the recovery approach. There is a role for religion/spirituality in engagement, risk reduction and supporting recovery. Services need to pay attention to avoid invalidation of the benefits to some people of religion/spirituality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
EventBritish Psychological Society Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 20153 Jul 2015


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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