As a mark of gratitude to Alexander Leighton, this article engages him in a dialogue, reopening several debates that were enriched by his research and reflections on ethics, the 'aesthetic dimension' of the research enterprise, the processes that mediate between collective and individual variables, and his strong distrust of theory.
BACKGROUND: Mind-body medicine (MBM) approaches to many health problems have been well documented in the literature, including through multiple meta-analyses. Efficacy has been well demonstrated in conditions such as headache, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, fibromyalgia, hypertension, low back pain, depression, cancer symptoms, and postmyocardial infarction. However, an apparent disconnect (ie, translational block) prevents more widespread adoption of such therapies into practice.
Cultural psychiatry has been an important contributor to the enhanced dialogue between psychiatry and religion in the past couple of decades. During this time, religion and spirituality have become more prominent in mainstream psychiatry in a number of areas of study and clinical care, including refugee and immigrant health, trauma and loss, psychotherapy, collaboration with clergy, bioethics, and psychiatric research.