The importance of love

In the sciences ‘love’ is often treated in a way that appears to take literally its status as a four letter word. Indeed, in leading works on hallucinations this word is often more effectively excluded than any expletive.

But does this matter? Do we need to think about love in order to understand and explain the experience of hearing voices?

Along with my colleague Larry Davidson at Yale University, I have just published a new paper which gives a resounding ‘yes’ in response to this question.

I won’t post a summary here, but you can see the abstract of the paper here, or ideally you can drop me an email and I’ll send you a full copy of the paper for your own scholarly use.

Any feedback would be very welcome!


One thought on “The importance of love

  1. I have just read your paper and “loved” it:)

    The importance of spiritual values and virtues, such as love, kindness and compassion in mental health care is a very important, but as yet poorly understood, issue. I believe that no matter how competent practitioners are in various techniques, no matter how experienced, without these essential ingredients, therapy is unlikely to work and may prove counterproductive and harmful. This I believe is one of the reasons research has shown the therapeutic relationship to be so important, regardless of which therapies are being worked with.

    I also appreciate the focus of your paper on the need for science and religion to work together, as well as the need for multi-faith dialogue and solutions. I am a Bahá’í and this is one of the principles of the Bahá’í Faith. I would like to share this passage from the Bahá’í writings:

    “Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

    All of the main world faiths focus on the importance of and the need for love. We would do well to turn to them for guidance. One example is the beautiful Christian passage from 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible:

    “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

    Thank you for highlighting the importance of love and for striving to unite religion and science in the pursuit of progress, in helping us all to find better solutions in the field of mental health care!

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