Perceptions of Clergy on Collaboration with Psychological Counsellors in Management of Mental Health: A Focus on the Anglican Church of Kenya, Nairobi Diocese
Studies on perception of religious leaders about collaboration with other professionals in their pastoral care seem to be few especially in Africa, despite the indications that they are involved with people who also need psychotherapy and psychiatric attention. The study sought to examine the perception of clergy in the Anglican Church of Kenya, Nairobi diocese, regarding collaboration with psychological counsellors in management of mental health. The study used grounded theory and the triangulation mixed method research design targeting one hundred clergy currently serving in the Anglican church of Kenya, Nairobi diocese. Probability sampling was used to ensure that every member of the population gets an equal chance to participate. In-depth interviews were conducted on the emerging themes gathered through the initial random interviews and surveys and theoretical sampling using the constant comparative method of concurrent data collection. Data analysis adopted the coding method from which a report and theory was constructed. The study findings indicated that the clergy regularly encountered issues which they felt needed referral or consultation with a professional in matters of mental health. The study established that most of the theological training institutions that the participating clergy had gone through had a basic unit in psychology which made them aware of the basic information on the concept of psychology and common mental issues. However, there are no policies or organizational structures within their workplace to support in establishing a unit on mental health. The clergy who therefore saw the critical need of handling the mental issues professionally took it upon themselves to take on further training in psychological counselling and occasionally entrusted the persons to trained psychological counsellors who are known to them but not necessarily in their congregation. The clergy who have encountered cases for collaboration but have not made any referrals so far have relied entirely on spiritual intervention and the basic knowledge on psychology that they got in college as they plan to take on further training in Psychological intervention. The study established that the clergy would prefer taking on both the spiritual and psychological interventions because they see the two areas as very closely related. This has led the researcher to the concept of a Psycho-spiritual theoretical model for the psychological counsellors who intend to collaborate with religious leaders. Otherwise the clergy intend to adopt what the researcher refers to as “the Siamese model of psychotherapy in pastoral care”.
Keywords: Clergy, Collaboration, Referral, Perception, Mental Health Professionals, Psychological Counselling, Spirituality, Mental Illness & Diocese
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