As graduate students, we have been active in our professional community and authored a few journal articles. We have listed a few below, with the accepted manuscript hyperlinked in the title and the copyrighted record hyperlinked in the doi or volume number.
Rogers, E. B., Stanford, M. S., & Garland, D. R. (2012). The effects of mental illness on families within faith communities. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 15(3), 301–313. doi:10.1080/13674676.2011.573474
Abstract: The present study examined the experiences and values of families caring for a mentally ill loved one within the context of a Christian faith community. Participants (n = 5899) in 24 churches representing four Protestant denominations completed a survey describing their family’s stresses, strengths, faith practices, and desires for assistance from the congregation. Results showed mental illness in 27% of families, with those families reporting twice as many stressors on average. In addition, families with mental illness scored lower on measures of family strength and faith practices. Analysis of desires for assistance found that help with mental illness was a priority for those families affected by it, but ignored by others in the congregation. These results suggest that mental illness is not only prevalent in church communities, but is accompanied by significant distress that often goes unnoticed. Partnerships between mental health providers and congregations may help to raise awareness in the church community and simultaneously offer assistance to struggling families.
Rogers, E. B., Stanford, M. S., Dolan, S. L., Clark, J., Martindale, S. L., Lake, S. L., Baldridge, R. M., et al. (2012). Helping people without homes: Simple steps for psychologists seeking to change lives. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(2), 86–93. doi:10.1037/a0026606
Abstract: The American Psychological Association has recently issued a call for psychologists to redouble their efforts to eradicate homelessness (APA, 2010). Many may struggle with perceived challenges to beginning such work, yet contributing is not necessarily a complex or time-intensive task. Our collaboration with a faith-based homeless service agency provides examples of simple, commonsense actions that resulted in mutual benefit for individual psychologists, persons without homes, the agency that serves them, and a university psychology training program. By conducting research with homeless participants and offering brief assessments completed by graduate students, we improved the lives of individuals without homes and strengthened our community’s response to homelessness. Simultaneously, we created new training opportunities for graduate students, furthered research in our areas of interest, and gained valuable experience with interdisciplinary collaboration and direct intervention in a marginalized population. From our experience, we extract lessons for psychologists considering work with the homeless and offer examples of specific actions that can facilitate the first steps in meaningful engagement.
Rogers, E. B., Yuvarajan, E., & Stanford, M. S. (n.d.). The clergy-psychologist relationship: Suggestions for building and interprofessional collaboration. Family and Community Ministries, 26. Retrieved from http://www.familyandcommunityministries.org/journal/article.php?articleid=23
Abstract: Due to the historical rift between clergy and psychologists, direct collaborations are uncommon despite the complementary expertise of the two professions. This results in individuals and families who do not receive adequate care through their struggles. With the goal of facilitating future interprofessional collaborations, we describe examples of existing collaborations, list obstacles to successful partnerships and highlight themes of successful collaboration. In light of the information reviewed, practical suggestions for collaborative work are provided, offering specific steps to begin and facilitate relationships between clergy and psychologists in service of congregants.
Breuninger, M., Stanford, M.S. (2013) A practical guide to meeting the needs of the mentally ill in the local church. Healing Ministry, 19, 5-11
Abstract: Pastors and lay ministers are likely to encounter individuals and/or families in their congregation struggling with the effects of mental illness. Without the training necessary to competently treat serious mental disorders, a referral should be made to the appropriate mental health provider. The congregation, However, remains vitally important to the recovery process. When utilized/engaged effectively, religious involvement is associated with buffering against future relapses, effective coping with symptoms, faster recovery times as well as promoting and sustaining mental health. This article offers clergy and lay ministers practical tips and resources aimed at helping the local church educate, support, supplement and provide continuing care in order to create a safe, loving environment in which those struggling with mental illness can find hope and healing.
Breuninger, M., Dolan, S. L., Padilla, J. I., & Stanford, M. S. (2014) Psychologists and clergy working together: A collaborative treatment approach for religious clients. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 16(3) doi:10.1080/19349637.2014.925359
Abstract: Positive religious engagement has numerous benefits for individuals struggling with mental health difficulties. There is, however, a dearth of literature addressing ways that secular psychologists can engage a client’s religious belief system in a manner that allows the positive benefits of the client’s religious and/or spiritual involvement to be experienced within therapy without requiring religious knowledge or theological training by the psychologist. The following article proposes a collaborative treatment model composed of distinct interventions functioning in a cooperative, coordinated manner. Discussion is also given to principles that aid psychologists in coordinating psychological and spiritual interventions into a coherent and cooperative treatment process.