I read with interest Dr Macdonald’s article, which showed that talking therapy by chaplains resulted in an equivalent improvement in patient wellbeing as antidepressants.1
Leavey et al2 in an interview study concluded that clergy tend to explain mental health problems in terms of social factors with spiritual influences and for them the meaning of mental distress assumes more social and moral significance. Pennybaker et al3 have suggested there is a need to provide chaplains with training in psychiatric illness and to more clearly define their role in mental health care.
Dr Macdonald suggests primary care chaplaincy could be considered as an alternative to cognitive behavioural therapy but before adopting this strategy more widely it would be useful to obtain the views of chaplains on what talking therapy means to them and what training they would need to provide it.
- © British Journal of General Practice 2017