Richard G. Petty, MD

Spirituality, Depression and Suicide

It is an interesting sign of the times that a major medical publication – the Southern Medical Journal – has dedicated an entire section this month to a series of papers on the Spirituality/Medicine Interface Project that is being supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

Attention to our spirituality is an important part of fulfilling our potential and treating people in trouble. It is no accident that Integrated Medicine always includes all of the five major dimensions of an individual:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Subtle
  • Spiritual

To get a bit technical, each of the five domains or dimensions contains something of each of the others. The body, mind and spirit and not separate but part of one whole. Mind, consciousness and spirit permeate the body.

We sometimes use the technical term “Five Interlinked Nested Domains” or “FINDS,” to reflect this reality.

An important principle of this interconnected health model is that it’s almost always a mistake to look for a single cause for a problem, imbalance or illness. Not only is it usually incorrect to think about “one illness, one cause,” but it is also usually not enough to use just one therapy or one health maintenance plan: Carefully coordinated combinations are key, for they generate a powerful synergy.

Because the domains are interlinked, physical and psychological health, to say nothing of our social health, and the health of our subtle systems are difficult to maintain without spiritual health. The road to spiritual health begins with understanding and following the natural laws of the Universe, finding your true Purpose and applying both to the service of others.

The articles in this issue of the Southern Medical Journal are excellent.

Here are some highlights:
Dan Blazer from Duke University provides an introduction that gives a fine overview of the growing field of spirituality in medicine in general and depression in particular
Harold Koenig, also from Duke has an article entitled, “Spirituality and Depression: A Look at the Evidence”
Bob Cloninger from Washington University in St. Louis writes about “Spirituality and the Science of Feeling Good.”

Unfortunately the abstracts and papers are not yet available on line, except to members of the Southern Medical Association. Hopefully the Templeton Foundation will be able to arrange with the Journal to make at least the abstracts freely available.

If they do, I shall let you know.

Otherwise, if you have ready access to a library, and if you are interested in this important and rapidly growing field, I am sure that they will be able to help you.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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