Anxiety – A Natural Human Experience

Dr. David Rosmarin, Ph.D, is the Director of the Spirituality and Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital, associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and founder of Center for Anxiety discusses his new book (Oct 2023) titled “Thriving With Anxiety.” He reframes anxiety and explains Anxiety is not a disease; it is a natural human experience that can help us thrive throughout life when we learn to harness it as a resource.

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David H. Rosmarin, PhD, is the director of the Spirituality and Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital and an associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University under the mentorship of Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD, and he completed a pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital.

Dr. Rosmarin studies the relevance of spirituality to mental health, and he innovates methods for clinicians to address this area of life. He has published over 100 manuscripts, editorials, and chapters, and served as co-editor of the Handbook of Spirituality, Religion and Mental Health. Dr. Rosmarin’s work is regularly featured by the media and has appeared in CNN, NPR, Scientific American, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Dr. Rosmarin approaches spirituality/religion as a clinician-scientist. He innovates effective methods for clinicians to address spiritual and religious issues in the practice of evidence-based care. He also evaluates models of how and why spirituality/religion might be functionally linked to mental disorders in both positive and negative ways.

Dr. Rosmarin’s full-length practice text, “Spirituality, Religion, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A Guide for Clinicians,” provides theoretical foundations as well as step-by-step guidance for practitioners. Based on this foundational work, Dr. Rosmarin has developed several clinical protocols, including spiritual psychotherapy for inpatient, residential, and intensive treatment (SPIRIT), which allows for provision of spiritually integrated care within acute psychiatric settings. SPIRIT has been provided to over 5,000 patients at McLean Hospital, offered by more than 20 clinicians. Findings from several recent studies show that the approach is well tolerated by clinically, religiously, and demographically diverse patients.

Dr. Rosmarin has also developed several psychometric measures to assess spirituality/religion. His approach in this line of work simplifies assessment of this domain, so that practitioners and scientists can quantify aspects of spiritual/religious life that are clinically relevant to mental health and distress. Some of his measures have been translated into Farsi, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Dr. Rosmarin is the co-editor of the “Handbook of Spirituality, Religion & Mental Health, 2nd Edition,” an authoritative volume that summarizes the past 20 years of clinical science on this topic. His own research has identified that faith in a spiritual being is associated with improved treatment outcomes for depressed patients, and such effects are mediated by trust in the treatment process. Conversely, spiritual struggles (e.g., belief that one is being unfairly punished by God) predict greater anxiety, as mediated by greater intolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

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