Presentation on theme: "Spirituality and Healing"— Presentation transcript:
1 Spirituality and Healing John Mulder, MDVice President of Medical Services, Faith HospiceMedical Director of Palliative Care ServicesMetroHealthDirector, Grand Rapids Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program
2 Objectives Define our spiritual nature Understand the scientific basis for the role of spirituality in health and diseaseUnderstand the interrelationship between the spiritual, physical, and emotional aspects of our beingEquip participants with techniques for dealing with spiritual issues with patients
3 “Few men make themselves masters of the things they write or speak.” -- John Selden,
4 “We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.” -- Dr. Samuel Johnson,
5 What is Spirituality?“Spirituality is one of those words which is sort of like an old Barnum and Bailey circus tent; it covers so many various kinds of animals, events, acts and episodes that it’s hard to pin down.”-- Joseph Sittler, theologian/writer
6 What is Spirituality? -- The non-physical part of our being -- The part that motivates us to look for meaningConnects our experiences with sources of meaningProvides capacity to see beyond and rise above momentary experiences to find meaning and purpose in life
7 What is Spirituality?A vehicle for faith that provides a basis for prayer, meditation and worshipGives us a reason to love, forgive and seek reconciliationValues such as love, meaning, beauty, hope and truth guide our search for meaning in life and in its life’s experiencesBrings clarity to personal concepts such as personhood, life, death, grieving, compassion, and life’s purposes
8 What is Spirituality?PHYSICAL BODY -- senses of sight, sound, hearing, taste, capacity for motion, experiencing pain and pleasureMIND -- capacity for having thoughts, holding beliefs, experiencing emotionsSPIRIT or SOUL -- site of supreme values and ultimate realities; perception and understanding of God, love, meaning, hope, beauty, and truth
9 What is Spirituality? TWO DIMENSIONS: VERTICAL -- Our personal relationship with God, ultimate source of being; model for understanding life’s experiences; basis for coping with illnesses, pain, suffering, etc.HORIZONTAL -- Our personal relationship with others; basis for personal lifestyle or life storyThe “Human Moment”
10 What is Spiritual Healing? Spiritual healing is not a matter of God breaking the physical laws of nature.Spiritual laws co-exist with physical laws interacting constantly.Following spiritual laws directly affects the body and can influence disease and healthSpiritual healing is a discipline to be practiced - a life style, not an event to be prayed for
11 “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” -- George Santayana,
12 What is Health? Fitness and lifestyle Proper diet Proper exercise Proper sleep
13 What is Health?Fitness and lifestyleFulfilling our calling
14 “An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.” -- Honore de Balzac
15 “Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.” -- Edward de Bono, 1933-
16 What is Health? Fitness and lifestyle Fulfilling our calling Forgiveness: Giving and receiving
17 “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” -- Albert Einstein,
18 Healthcare professionals have both an opportunity and an obligation to impact their patients’ spiritual as well as physical health.
19 Physician reluctance to endorse healthy spirituality: Most physicians not aware of dataMany doctors specifically instructed to keep religion out of medical practices - don’t mix science and faithThe possibility of opening “Pandora’s Box” unsettling for many physicians; untrained to address spiritual beliefs, practices, and experiences
20 Why Faith Heals . . .Social Support -- People who have strong religious commitment are more connected to each otherRitual -- Rituals in and of themselves have health benefits; they also give a sense of securityAppreciation of Beauty -- Nearly everyone revels in nature’s beauty; the faithful are reminded to look up and enjoy the view
21 Why Faith Heals . . .Worship -- Through song, dance, uplifted hands or prayer, worship bathes us in a variety of healing faith factors (ritual, social support, beauty)Serenity -- In the midst of stress, forms of meditation create a relaxation response, reducing the damaging effects of that stressConfession -- Faith can drive us to make good on our guilt; confession and forgiveness allow us to learn from our mistakes and move on
22 Why Faith Heals . . .Temperance Most faiths take a negative view of risk factors for illness and disease: drunkenness, sexual immorality, smoking, overeatingHope -- Those with deep faith believe that God has their best interests at heart regardless of their circumstances; present worries pale in comparison to the wonder of God’s ultimate promisesUnity -- An opportunity to gather and communicate bring healing into faith-based environments; accountability helps keep a focus on faith-based values
23 Why Faith Heals . . .Meaning -- The presence of hope, social support, and unity gives meaning and purpose to lifeTrust -- People of faith do what they are able with the strength, ingenuity and desire that God gives them, and trust Him for the results; a positive, health-preserving sense of peace resultsLove -- God’s love, and love reflected in behavior of friends and family, blunts the effect of physical and emotional trauma; healing power of love sometimes seen best when it’s lost
24 “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” -- Soren Kierkegaard,
25 If God had designated an ideal place to bring down men and women’s emotional barriers, He could have designed no better environment than the doctor’s office or hospital.
26 Keys to Influence Spiritual Health Influence requires professional competenceInfluence requires characterInfluence requires compassion
27 Physicians and nurses can be powerful spiritual forces for healing by being there with their patients, by being attentive, and by demonstrating caring, and professional and personal concern for patients.
28 Addressing Spiritual Self Care Needs “ ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
29 Addressing Spiritual Self Care Needs Love God completelyLove others compassionatelyLove yourself correctly
30 “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” -- Edith Wharton
31 How can health be evaluated? Objective dataIndependent observation (family, friends)Self-evaluation (questionnaire)
32 A Popular PlatformPublic media has turned an eye onto this issue, and the research findings:Time, McCall’s, Family Circle, Prevention, Self, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Cooking Light, ABC World News Tonight, USA Today, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Omni, Reader’s Digest . . .
33 What the research shows . . . 95% of Americans express belief in GodNearly 3 in 4 claim that they base their approach to life on their religious beliefs63% of patients desire to have their doctor address religious faith - only 10% of physicians do soLevels of religious practice are significantly related to health status, regardless of age, even after controlling for education, social class, and social membership
34 What the research shows . . . Less than 2/3 family physicians believe that God existsLess than 25% report believing in a personal God, believing in an afterlife, or having a close relationship with GodMore than 1/4 were atheists or agnosticsOnly 5% of doctors report that religious and spiritual issues were regularly addressed in their trainingAs of April, 1996, ~20 medical schools include a course on addressing faith issues with patients
35 Application in Clinical Settings HYPERTENSIONPersons who both attended church frequently and rated their religion as very important had lower diastolic blood pressuresFindings even more impressive in smokers who rated religion as important and attended church at least once weekly
36 Application in Clinical Settings ARTERIOSCLEROTIC HEART DISEASERisk of dying from heart disease was much less for men who attended church at least once a week; risk for frequent church attenders was only 60% of the risk for men who attended infrequentlyAt least 6 community-based studies have shown that the religiously committed person, particularly the church attender, has a greater chance of living longer than do persons lacking a religious commitment
37 Application in Clinical Settings DRUG/ALCOHOL ABUSE20 studies have examined relationship between religion and drug useDrug abuse is related to the absence of religious commitment in a person’s lifeIn 10/11 studies, religious commitment protected against alcohol abuse
38 Application in Clinical Settings SUICIDEPersons who did not attend church were 4 x more likely to commit suicide than were frequent church attendersDELIQUENCY12/13 studies found that religious commitment - particularly church attendance - played a protective role against delinquency
39 Application in Clinical Settings CORONARY CARE OUTCOMESIntercessory prayer for CCU patients, double blindDaily prayer for: rapid recovery, prevention of complications and death; other areas they believed to be beneficialRESULTSFewer cases of CHF, fewer cardiopulmonary arrests, fewer cases needing intubation or ventilation, fewer cases of pneumonia in the group that was consistently prayed for
40 A Medieval Perspective . . . “For when the wretched man findyng all helpe of man not able to uphold him from perishing, being striken with the mightie hande of God, feleth him selfe unable to stande, no soundes in his bodye, no strength in his limmes, no helpe of nature to resist the violence of that disease that Gods displeasure hath laid upon him, seeth no signe of Gods grace in his soule, but the deep woundes that Gods anger hath left in his conscience, perceiveth no token to argue him th’elect of God and partaker of the death of his Saviour, hearyng pronounced that the soule which sinneth shall die, knowyng him selfe to have sinned, and felying him selfe dying: alas what helpe remaineth in this extremitie?”-- Anne Lock, 1560
41 Introductory interview questions Is religion or spirituality important to you?Do your religious or spiritual beliefs influence the way you look at your medical problems and the way you think about your health?Would you like me to address your religious or spiritual beliefs and practices with you?
42 Introductory interview questions Do you attend religious services? (If “yes,” how often do you attend? Which church?)Do you pray? (If “yes,” how frequently?)How important is religion to you? (If “very” or “somewhat,” go to next question?)Is your relationship with God more formal or personal?
43 Faith Stories PRINCIPLES They should fit as a natural part of conversationThey should take no more than 2 minutesThey should be about God/Bible/relationship to God, not about church or a bookThey should provide a glimpse of what it’s like to be God’s child
44 Faith Stories THEY SHOULD AVOID Religious jargon Pushing for a decisionBecoming a sermonIdentifying you as a member of a specific religious group or denominationIdentifying faith as a reason for not doing somethingAttempts to convict
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