August 10, 2018 at 11:46 am #3869
Joan, Lee, Kathy, Joy, and Sunny,
As usual, the time has flown by but then doesn’t it always. There have been some great observations about the reading material so far. We will extend our discussion through next Tuesday, so there is still time to jump in and share your thoughts, questions, etc. about whatever you have been able to read.
What was the best idea or two you got from Chapter 5? Here is a couple of mine.
We have offered seminars on similarities and differences in different religious traditions and I think it is important to know as much as we can. Swinton makes the point on p. 135 that “Knowledge of spiritual labels on its own tells us little about what a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs actually mean to them and the ways in which they function in a person’s life.” Table 5.1 was very helpful in comparing the medical model and this hermeneutic model. Further, I loved the “Asking new questions” section. It is a great way to enable persons to reframe their struggle and to begin to see some new dimensions. Reading this chapter was a wonderful reminder at how essential our ability to empathize is to facilitate the healing process. This is why “natural caregivers” can be very effective even if they don’t have a ton of cross-cultural or theological understanding. I liked the notion of interpathy but had already written in the margin…”good idea but hard to do”. Certainly, a unit or two of CPE, Spiritual Direction or Therapy can be very useful in the process of discovering and working with our prejudices. The specific outlines and brief discussions of various mental health issues that persons present were helpful in illustrating how a spiritual caregiver might understand the process outlined in the book as it relates to different problems. Certainly, the entire book did enhance my practice wisdom as it relates to spirituality and mental health.
Since I have lived through my wife earning her BSN, MS, and Nurse Practitioner degrees, I enjoyed the summary of different theories of assessment and intervention discussed in the Appendix.
So there is my brief summary. What caught your attention? How do you plan to implement anything you have learned?
I have already used some of the meaning questions with friends struggling with depression, which moved our conversation to a deeper level.
August 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm #3871
I too resonated quickly and deeply with the part about spiritual labels telling very little, but rather needing to enter into the life world of the person. I made a note commenting about using the idea of respectful curiosity to remind myself of the importance of using genuine questions to guide my own understanding of where the person is coming from. Right before this, Swinton mentions that we don’t even have to believe or identify with the persons belief or experience to till be able to be genuine carers. I highlighted this because to me this is the essence of what I do as a chaplain.
For me his approach to a both/and using the hermeneutical and medical model for mental health care makes the most sense to me. It helps to bring to the forefront the importance of exploring meaning making, life and spiritual context as critical to moving towards a wholeness of health, while also recognizing that there can be a profound physical component to mental health issues such as chemical imbalances that do require a medical/physical intervention.
Chapter 5 continued to reinforce for me the idea that the concept of being a journeyer along side the person is a good frame work. As a journeyer I am willing to walk along side the person on the road they are traveling. I bring my own strengths and skills while also being attuned to the path the person is taking so that I can be sure not to “loose” them.
I found the discourse around various mental health issues to be particularly helpful in terms what I could be listening for better. Table 5.2 was most helpful in sumarizing the content of the discussion.
For me how I think this will impact my care the most is in how I am listening to and entering into the journeying space. In my setting, I most likely will see a patient in a mental health crisis only once and at the begining of the crisis. For me it is more about helping them tell me their story and listening for the Spiritual framework they are working from. It is not about some of the more longterm work of meaning making toward wholenss, but rather helping the person feel heard while they are in crisis.
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