Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Vyacheslav Karpov

Second Advisor

Dr. Victoria Ross

Third Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert Ulin


Building upon concepts from sociology of medicine, religion, knowledge, and professions, this study explores the social determinants of separation and integration of medical-scientific and religious approaches to mind and mental health. Using qualitative interviews, it shows how, to what extent, and why psychiatrists and psychologists of Judeo-Christian religious orientations or nonaffiliated believers in the State of Michigan are willing or reluctant to integrate religious paradigms in their mental health practices. The study turns to a content analysis of 3,680 articles from two leading professional journals to assess the participants’ claims regarding the treatment of religion prevalent in psychiatry and psychology.

Most of the study participants were found to believe that medical-scientific and religious paradigms are equally important and may coexist or even be integrated in psychotherapeutic practice. However, actual attempts to integrate them usually reflected the practitioners’ personal religious backgrounds and initiatives and/or were client driven. Yet these integration initiatives were found to face powerful institutional impediments ranging from politico-cultural norms of separation of religion from secular institutions, to traditions of marginalization of religious issues in professional literatures. Thus, this study shows that the recently popular appeals to bridge the traditional and alternative medical approaches and to overcome the mind-body separation in mental health practices may be unrealistic unless the institutional obstacles to such integrative approaches are fully taken into account and dealt with by educational and professional organizations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access