Our spirituality and recovery conference, held in conjunction with ARCH recovery college and Durham University in July 2017, explored the role spirituality has to play in mental health recovery. 

The three-day event was attended by clinicians, service users, carers, chaplains, faith and community leaders and anyone else interested in how the importance of spirituality can work for the benefit of people who are receiving mental health services.

  • Day one focused on setting the scene, looking at research into spirituality and recovery, an insight into spirituality from the Trust chaplain Colin Jay and how spirituality is embedded in the work of the ARCH recovery college. The day will round off with a range of ‘spiritual activities’ including Tai Chi, mindfulness and choral evensong (at Durham Catherdral)
  • During the second day delegates looked at the importance of promoting personal recovery and the links to spirituality, and heard from experts by experience and trust service users and guest speakers about recovery and the role spirituality, and faith, can play. The day closed with an evening conference dinner.
  • Day three considered compassion and kindness and attendees learnt more about mindfulness.

Guest speakers (and links to presentations where available)

  • Professor Chris Cook: professor of spirituality, theology and health at Durham University and an honorary Minor Canon of Durham Cathedral and honorary consultant psychiatrist at the trust. Please email colin.jay@nhs.net for a copy of Chris' presentation
  • Reverend Colin Jay: an Anglican priest for 25 years, 14 of which he has worked at the trust and is currently head chaplain. Read Colin's presentation here
  • Dr Alison Brabban: clinical lead for recovery at the trust and an expert advisor to the Adult Mental Health programme at NHS England. Read Alison's presentation here
  • Dr Andrew Powell: founding chair of the spirituality and psychiatry interest group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has held consultant and academic posts in psychoanalytic and group analytic therapies in London
  • Dr Angela Kennedy: a psychologist within the NHS for 25 years and a trauma therapist at the trust leading a specialist psychological therapies team
  • Jo Cromarty: team mamaber of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust mindfulness team, a teacher of mindfulness and an occupational therapist of 20 years. Read Jo's presentation here
  • Dr Penelope Campling: medical psychotherapist and former consultant and clinical director of Francis Dixon Lodge, the personality disorder service in Leicester. Read Penny's presentation here
  • Dr John Ballatt: Director of the Openings Consultancy and a partner in the multi-disciplinary People in Systems consultancy. John has 30 years’ experience in the voluntary, local government and NHS sectors
  • Dr John Swinton: professor in practical theology and pastoral care, University of Aberdeen. John's presentation will be made available once his research has been published.
  • Rev Professor June Boyce Tillman: University of Winchester (The Centre for Arts as Wellbeing and the Taverner Centre for Music and Spirituality) and North West University of South Africa. Read June's presentation here
  • Maria Giulia Marini: epidemiologist and counsellor, director of healthcare area and professor of narrative medicine at Hunimed, Milan. Read Maria's presentation here
  • Dr Rolf Nolsaco Jnr: providence theological seminary, Canada. Read Rolf's presentation here

Biographies for our speakers can be found here.


Experts by experience

We were fortunate to have experts by experience attend the conference and share their experiences of and thoughts about spirituality and recovery - visit our Recovery College Online website for Luka's story.


The conference agenda is available here.