Should Clinicians Prescribe Forgiveness?

Authors: John R. Peteet, MD


Most research on spirituality/religiousness and substance use disorders indicates an inverse relationship,1 for which many explanations have been proposed. Some authors have suggested that religions discourage substance use directly, and others that spirituality meets the needs that addicted individuals have for identity, integrity, an inner life, and/or interdependence.2 Obstacles to answering the question have included a lack of consensus on the definition of spirituality3 and the use of multiple instruments.

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1. Koenig HG. Faith and Mental Health: Religious Resources for Healing. Philadelphia, Templeton Foundation Press, 2005, pp 109–112.
2. Peteet J. A closer look at the role of a spiritual approach in addictions treatment. J Subst Abuse Treat 1993;10:263–267.
3. Cook CC. Addiction and spirituality. Addiction 2004;99:539–551.
4. Worthington EL, (ed). Dimensions of Forgiveness: Psychological Research and Theological Perspectives. Radnor, Templeton Foundation Press, 1998.
5. Peteet JR. Doing the Right Thing: An Approach to Moral Issues in Mental Health Treatment. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2004.
6. Josephson AJ, Peteet JR, (eds). Handbook of Spirituality and World View in Clinical Practice. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2004.