Conference: Culture, Spirituality and Mental Health in Kathmandu

On the 29th-30th October 2018, more than 100 participants from 12 different countries gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal for the International Conference on Culture and Global Mental Health: Culture, Spirituality and Mental Health.

(Photo: Dr. Sagun Ballav Pant)

The conference brought together mental health practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, residents, researchers, mental health social workers, advocates and experts from diverse traditions to discuss the implications of religious and spiritual teachings for mental health theory, policy, and practice. In addition to interactive presentations, panel discussion provided opportunities for dialogue on ways to integrate insights from religious and spiritual practices into mental health research, promotion, interventions, and recovery in international and Nepalese context.

The conference was organized by Department of Psychiatry and mental health, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry & Global Mental Health Program, McGill University, Canada and Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Institute of Clinical medicine & Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo, Norway. The course was directed by Prof. Laurence J. Kirmayer (Mc Gill University), Prof. Saroj Prasad Ojha (Tribhuvan University) and Assoc. Prof. Suraj Thapa (University of Oslo)

The program was inaugurated by Honorable minister of Education, science and Technology Mr. Giri Raj Mani Pokhrel. The international faculties that presented scientific papers were Liana Chase, Santosh Chaturvedi, James Griffith, Jaswant Guzder, Laurence J. Kirmayer, Boon Ooi Lee, Kemal Sayar, Shekhar Sheshadri, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Julia Stenzel, Suraj Thapa, Seinenu Thein-Lemelson, Anne Beatte Tjentland, Nyima Tsering, Henry Vyner, Carol Worthman.

There was a diverse range of presentations that discussed various facets of religion, spirituality across diverse culture and possibilities of assimilating it into evidence-based practice in field of mental health.


October 29 (Day1)             




Inauguration of the Conference

9:30-9: 45            

Introduction to Conference – Rishav Koirala


Culture and Spirituality in Global Mental Health: Dynamics of Well-being, Resilience and Recovery – Laurence J. Kirmayer, McGill University


Break / tea & coffee

10:30- 11:00 

Overview of Religion and Mental Health in Nepal – Saroj Prasad Ohja, Tribhuvan University


Mental Health Promotion in Nepal – Suraj Thapa, University of Oslo


Shamans, Counsellors, and the Church: Shifting Ecologies of Psychosocial Care in Post-Earthquake Nepal – Liana Chase, SOAS, University of London


Panel Discussion: Advancing culturally informed mental health care in Nepal

12:30- 13:30       

Lunch break


Research Perspectives on Religion and Spirituality


Tracking Roots of Resilience: Implications of Contemplative Research for the Science of Stress and Trauma – Carol Worthman, Emory University


Therapeutic Processes of Dang-Ki Healing in Singapore – Boon-Ooi Lee, Nanyang Technological University


Buddhism and Democracy: Pathways Towards Resilience Among Activists and Former Political Prisoners in Burma-MyanmarSeinenu Thein, University of California, Berkeley


Avatar Therapeutics: From Hinduism to Virtual Worlds to Global Mental Health – Jeffrey Snodgrass, Colorado State University


Break / tea & coffee


Meditation, Yoga and Mental Health – Santosh Chaturvedi


An Ethnopsychiatric Study of the Healthy Mind Amongst Tibetan DzogChen Lamas – Henry Vyner


Poster session


October  30:  (Day 2)        




Spirituality and Mental Health in Christianity - Anne Beate Tjentland


What Can Sufism Say About Modern Maladies of the soul? — Kemal Sayar, Marmara University


Spirituality and mental health in Hinduism – Santosh Chaturvedi

10:30- 11:00       

Break / tea & coffee


Suffering, Meditation and Its Limits – Julia Stenzel


Spirituality and mental health in Tibetan psychiatry – Nyima Tsering


Panel discussion on mental wellbeing with invited experts on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity




Integrating Culture and Spirituality in Clinical Practice


Hope Modules: Spirituality as a Delivery System for Common Factors of Therapeutic Change – James Griffith, George Washington University


Spiritual Frameworks of Distress and Their Integration into Treatment of Children and Adolescents – Jaswant Guzder, McGill University


Children, Spirituality and Mental Health: Concept, context and Methodologies– Shekhar Seshradi, NIMHANS


Panel Discussion on Clinical Treatment and Prevention Approaches


Closing ceremony

Tags: Global Mental Health, Nepal, spirituality By Dr. Sagun Ballav Pant and Nicoline Lokdam
Published Nov. 27, 2018 10:28 AM - Last modified Nov. 27, 2018 10:28 AM