Jennifer Gingerich

Wally, you asked in a post on Saturday how I handle spiritual assessment.  I tend to simply engage in conversation, and then later use a history/assessment form I adapted to think through what the person has told me is going on in their life.  I ask some of the basic things that FICA/FACT get at – who is close to them, whether church/spirituality is part of their life.  I listen for what is important to them and engage them in talking about that, whether it’s a health issue or what they did for a living, etc.  I read about the Spiritual Distress Assessment Tool a few years ago, and the categories that uses stuck with me – sense of control is one of them, as well as how others respond to their values.  There’s language about life balance.  I guess in my setting I don’t push too much against those who put their shields up, since pastoral care may not be what they were looking for when they rent an apartment with us.  It seems like when I get the opportunity to visit them in the hospital or acknowledge a loss, they appreciate that attention or concern, and sometimes it opens a door.  One useful question that I picked up somewhere along the line (for those with some kind of Christian faith) is, “How has God been with you in that?” or “Where is God in this for you?”  I don’t know if any of that might be helpful.

Rick, thank you for the suggestion of “Where did/does that passionate belief come from?”  That seems like a good question to engage meaning behind people’s positions.