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November 2011
World Congress of Psychiatry, Buenos Aires

The WPA Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry has been active at the 15th World Congress of Psychiatry (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18-22 September 2011). The Section had three symposia that focused on the relation between psychiatry and religion in the clinical presentation of obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol abuse and schizophrenia and the need for humanities in the form of spirituality to help us overcome the challenges in the 21st century and combat violence.

The Section had business meetings in Buenos Aires where two distinguished experts in the field joined the Section’s board – S. Dein from the UK and A. Moreira-Almeida from Brazil.

Considering that spiritual and religious beliefs experiences can affect mental health and the way patients cope with distress and mental disorders, and that healthy spiritual experiences may present characteristics similar to those of dissociative and psychotic symptoms, the Section contributed to the ICD-11 suggesting person-centered integrative diagnosis and long term care and it would be part of good practice to inquire about patients’ spiritual and religious background, beliefs, practices and experiences in different cultures.

The Section is working to introduce a Newsletter to be printed two issues in a year. This newsletter will cover the Section’s activities and allow the contributions of the members on practical difficulties, training needs and specialized research centres in the field.

Nahla Nagy
Secretary, WPA Section on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry

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