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Biopsychosociospiritual Medicine and Other Political Schemes

23 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2009 Last revised: 27 Sep 2013

Jeffrey P. Bishop

Saint Louis University

Date Written: December 1, 2009


In the mid-1970s, the biomedical model of medicine gave way to the biopsychosocial model of medicine; it was billed as a more comprehensive and compassionate model of medicine. After more than a century of disentangling medicine from religion, the medicine and spirituality movement is attempting to bring religion and spirituality back into medicine. It is doing so under a biopsychosociospiritual model. I unpack one model for allowing religion back into medicine called the RCOPE. RCOPE is an instrument designed to categorize religion and spirituality as psychological coping mechanisms. I explore how such instruments are related to the history of statistical measurement and demonstrate the political impetus that governs such enterprises. The biopsychosociospiritual medicine is billed as a more holistic and comprehensive model. This new model of medicine offers total care. However, I demonstrate how this total care becomes totalizing, indeed totalitarian, admitting religion and spirituality back into the fold of medicine under a new secularized medical control.

Keywords: biopolitics, biopsychosocial model, biopsychosociospiritual model, RCOPE, religion and medicine

Suggested Citation

Bishop, Jeffrey P., Biopsychosociospiritual Medicine and Other Political Schemes (December 1, 2009). Christian Bioethics, Vol. 15, Issue 3, pp. 254-276, 2009. Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey P. Bishop (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University ( email )

220 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

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