All in faith: Religion as the idiom and means of coping with distress Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper describes the way that people for whom religion is at the heart of their cultural and personal life try to cope with their problems via religious dogma or practise. It illustrates this through the three cases drawn from the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Jerusalem. The first describes a situation wherein religious beliefs and practises become the patient's vehicle for configuring and articulating his disorder. The second and third illustrate a situation wherein religion provides a means for the believers to relate to and create a religious structure and meaning around it and thus help organize their lives and cope with the pain of their disorder. In all three cases, their religious beliefs and practices furnish these patients with a means of de-stigmatizing the illness (something of no or little importance where even the slightest stigma has far-reaching social and interpersonal negative consequences) and redefining it in acceptable religious narratives or spiritual terms. This in turn makes therapy an...

publication date

  • January 1, 2000