• Meet Baylor’s expert on the intersection of mental health and religion

    Dr. Holly Oxhandler knows that a person’s faith can be integral to that person’s mental health — but she’s found it’s not often addressed in social work situations. As an active researcher and professor, she’s working to change that.

    Oxhandler, an assistant professor in Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, serves as social work’s associate dean for research and faculty development. She is a national thought leader and expert on the intersection of how professionals can ethically and effectively integrate clients’ faith into their mental and behavioral health treatment. That does not mean imposing your own religion on the client, she says; it means understanding the impact their own beliefs have on their life and health.

    Throughout her career, Oxhandler has worked tirelessly to advocate for such an approach. She developed the Religious/Spiritually Integrated Practice Assessment Scale, which assesses mental healthcare providers’ attitudes toward and ability to integrate clients’ religion/spirituality. While researching at the Baylor College of Medicine, she co-authored a cognitive behavioral treatment manual and counselor workbook. She’s written for numerous academic journals, and her research has been featured by such outlets as the Washington Post, Business Standard, and Baptist News Global. For the auditory learners, she also co-hosts a weekly podcast, CXMH: Christianity & Mental Health.

    Most recently, she helped secure a grant for the Baylor School of Social work to study if and how accredited master of social work programs incorporate religion and spirituality, as well as to assess faculty views around the topic and how universities’ religious affiliations impact M.S.W. education. We can’t wait to see where her research and efforts will go next!

    Sic ’em, Dr. Oxhandler!

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