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National leader in psychology of religion recognized with Samaritan award

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Dr. Kenneth Pargament, a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University and Distinguished Scholar at the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center, is now part of a list that includes former first ladies Betty Ford, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter. Pargament was presented the 2012 National Samaritan award Nov. 1 during a ceremony in Denver.

The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to human health and growth. The Samaritan Institute, which chooses the winners, explains that honorees “have demonstrated a religious sensibility in their work and personally and professionally exemplify the ideals of the Samaritan program.”  

According to the Institute, Pargament is “a leading figure in the dramatic resurgence of attention to the vital connection between religion and mental health through his research, writing and worldwide consultation.”  

“I feel very honored to be recognized by the Samaritan Institute, a pioneer in the movement toward mental health care that integrates mind, body and spirit,” Pargament said.

He has been a national leader in the psychology of religion and in the effort to bring a more balanced view of religious life to the attention of social scientists and health professionals. Having published extensively on the vital role of religion in coping with stress and trauma, he is the author of two books—“The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice” and “Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred,” published in 1997 and 2007, respectively.  He is also the editor-in-chief of the forthcoming two-volume “APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality” to be published by the American Psychological Association in 2013.

Pargament has served as a consultant with several foundations, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. He received the 2009 Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association in recognition of his work in the area of religion and mental health.

The Samaritan Institute is an association of accredited counseling centers with offices in 400 cities throughout 29 states and Tokyo. The centers provide more than 650,000 sessions of behavioral health care for individuals, couples, families, and organizations annually. Samaritan Centers are supported by 26 denominations and faith traditions.

Pargament has taught at BGSU since 1979 and has directed over 25 doctoral students in clinical psychology.

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(Posted November 02, 2012 )