I am very honored to interview Dr. Harold Koenig, very well known for his pioneering research about the relationship between religious and spiritual practices and health. He has conducted research about the impact of different faith traditions and practices on health outcomes. He is currently the Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University and also a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center. He is a preeminent researcher with many publications in peer reviewed journals and books, and a physician with many years of clinical practice. Dr. Koenig also does an incredible amount of public service through the center, such as, newsletters regarding religion and heath in the age of COVID and informative video lectures about the relationship of health and religious and spiritual practices.
I particularly wanted to interview Dr. Koenig about his research findings because in my professional experiences as a clinical psychologist working with many people over the past 20 years, I have seen how people’s belief systems of a relationship with a benevolent, loving, sheltering and protective God, regardless of a specific faith tradition, contributed to their effective coping and working through mental health issues. I have also seen people with secular views describe their relationships with loved ones as a driving force in their healing. The example that comes to mind are people, that I have worked with, who successfully maintain recovery and sobriety and later state that their hard work to reach sobriety was partly because of their love for their children. A love so great, profound and powerful, that they described this love as their Higher Power. I also will add that the American Psychological Association views religious and spiritual factors as human diversity factors which impact mental health and well-being and has promoted research and discussed guidelines for clinical practice in this area.
This post includes the video link of the interview with Dr. Koenig. The two main questions that I asked Dr. Koenig: 1) What is the relationship between religion, spirituality and health in the extensive research studies that he has conducted? What are possible pathways of how religious and spiritual practices are protective factors of health? 2) What are his thoughts about certain religious groups, not all, demonstrating behaviors that are not in compliance with CDC guidelines to prevent spread of COVID?
I have attached Dr. Koenig’s power point of a recent presentation that he did. Please view Religion, Spirituality and Health: Review, Update and Future Directions
I found his interview as thoughtful, insightful, and very informative. A Big Thank you to Dr. Koenig for his generosity in doing the interview. Attached below is the link for the interview with Dr. Harold Koenig. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vJOnDcp4ENzb-ypTwFxTrwT2Q0AmxJyY/view?usp=sharing
This is the last blog post for the year. Wishing readers a Joyful New Year:)
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