Anne F. Smith and Janette Simmonds looked at religion and help-seeking. Their study examined whether different groups of religion (mainstream, alternative, and no religion) encouraged more or less help-seeking behaviors. The mainstream religions included Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The alternative religions were defined as Paganism, some forms of Buddhism, Wicca, and New Age spirituality. The no religion group were agnostic, atheist, no religion, and rationalists. Smith and Simmond’s results showed that majority of the participants agreed that religious beliefs should be taken into account. Every religion agreed counseling was beneficial, yet tended to all say they would seek guidance from a personal relationship before seeking professional help.
The mainstream religion group stated that they would seek help from a priest more than the other religious groups claimed. The alternative religious group claimed that they would seek help from a psychic more so than the other religious groups said they would. The non-religious group stated that they would seek help from a relative and friend more than the other groups. Why do people tend to find professional help acceptable in society, yet do not choose that as their way of seeking help? Smith and Simmonds state that it is possible that people prefer to working issues out with close friends and relatives and then seek out professionals.
Where do individuals of the belief systems stand when it comes to paranormal beliefs? The nonreligious group resulted in having the lowest amount of paranormal belief (Traditional Religious Belief, Psi, Witchcraft, Spiritualism, Extraordinary Life Forms, and Precognition). The mainstream religions had higher belief in traditional religious beliefs. The alternative religions had higher belief in Witchcraft, Psi and Precognition.
Who do you tend to seek help from and does religion or the state of no religion play a role?
Submitted by: Jossalyn DeLeon
Reference: Smith, A. F., & Simmonds, J. G. (2006). Help-seeking and paranormal beliefs in adherents of mainstream religion, alternative religion, and no religion. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 19, 331-341.