Some Spiritual Care Tips for You!

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Creative Justice Provided by Listening, Forgiving and Giving
Theologian Paul Tillich suggests that there is another category of justice, the kind that can at least begin to bind up the wounds of those who suffer from injustice. Tillich calls this "creative justice," which is the only kind of justice that can actually meet our demands for justice. He describes the elements of creative justice as listening, forgiving and giving. This form of justice can provide some comfort to those who have suffered from the death of a child or any other kind of injustice. That's what a grief support group held at the First Baptist Church of Newfane, Newfane, N.Y., for example, has found in using this concept as a way to ameliorate the perceived injustice they've experienced.

Most of the participants in this group are mothers who have lost a child. At their meetings, they share their feelings and their stories. Their wounds are certainly not healed. They do not expect any real closure to their grief. But they do find some comfort. Their wounds are a little less painful because they experience the nurturing power of a group that practices creative justice. One time, a mother spoke about her ongoing need to take care of her son's grave. She clears away the leaves from his grave, and when it's cold outside, she puts a blanket on the grave. She said that it's the only way she has now of taking care of him. The other mothers knew that this was not the time to point out that putting a blanket on his grave does not actually take care of her son. Instead, the group members simply nodded their heads; they understood. They heard the terrible emptiness in her need to keep her dead son warm. They felt, with this mother, her need to nurture a son who could no longer experience her nurturing.

In applying this special kind of listening, the participants are able to hear the emotional content of each other's messages. They provide creative justice by listening to and accepting each other's feelings.
Rev. Dr. Judith Craik - Spring/Summer 2016, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 20/5/19
To read the full article, visit

Spirituality and Children

Children are naturally spiritual. When we appreciate their innate spiritual awareness, we can help ground them in a sacred reality.
1. A child's spiritual compass: trustworthy and good for life.
2. Children are hardwired to hold family sacred and sustaining.
3. Spiritual community gives children an expanded family of kindred spirits.
4. Spiritual multilingualism is a child's passport.
5. Spiritual agency empowers children to create a culture of love.
6. Transcendent knowing: dreams, mystical experiences, and other special knowing is the native spirituality of the child.
Lisa Miller Ph.D - Fall 2015/Winter 2016, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 13/5/2019
To read the full article, visit

Helping Patients, Family Caregivers Find Joy is Part of our Professional Calling
People must have joy. Loss of joy is an emergency. Joy should be a sixth vital sign. We should have rapid response teams: mental health providers and chaplains to search and rescue people lost without joy. Hope and joy are not the same thing. Perhaps for some, joy without hope of life is too difficult at that time. But still, it's really about joy; hope is one vehicle among others to joy. For those patients who have described dying as the best part of their life so far, hope for life was not what it was about. The love involved in connecting, being part of something so much larger than oneself; that was what it was about. We have to help people facing illness find the joy since it can be elusive. Symptom management and reliable care systems help. But it's also a personal matter. Helping our patients and their family caregivers find joy is part of our deep professional calling.
Linda Emmanuel MD Ph.D. - Fall 2015/Winter 2016, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 29/4/2019 - To read the full article, visit

Search for Meaning is Also Essence of Spiritual Care

The essence of palliative care is understanding who the patient is as a person--what matters most to that person. This--the search for meaning--is also the essence of spiritual care. As palliative care clinicians, we empower people who are navigating serious illness to make decisions that are right for them in the context of the reality of the illness. We hear our patients' voices and ask them important questions. Tell us about your life. Who are you and what is important to you? What are your greatest hopes and concerns? Tell us about your family. We all have one life to live, how do you want to live yours? Too often in the treatment of serious and chronic illness, patients and families struggle to voice a great many things, and things are left unsaid even at the end of life. The palliative care team, trained and expert in communication skills, helps patients and families express their true feelings, questions and concerns.
Edith Myerson D.Min, BCC and Diane Meier MD, FACP - Spring/Summer 2015, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 26/4/2019 - To read the full article, visit
Spiritual Care Providers Actions Resonate with Survivors of Suicide Loss
 There are six things every spiritual care provider should know about suicide.
Suicide is complicated. It is not a sign of weakness, selfishness, irresponsibility, a character flaw, or a coward's way out.
Grieving family and friends are likely blaming themselves and one another.
You probably carry your own beliefs and feelings about suicide. If you find that there are gaps in your understanding or you hold a view you'd like to re-examine, educate yourself (and do it soon, before you suddenly find yourself sitting across from a weeping family member who's desperately asking you for reassurance that their loved one is safe).
You may not feel totally prepared.
You have a unique and extremely important role to play.
You matter, too. As a spiritual care provider it's in your nature to take care of others. Take good care of yourself too.
Joanne Harpel - Fall/Winter 2014, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 15/4/2019 - To read the full article, visit

Relieve the Stress of Caring for Others
Healthcare is a demanding field and takes an emotional toll on the people on the front lines: doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and others. Here are three suggestions to relieve the stress of caring for others.
1. The spiritual practice of meditation. Just breathe. Drop the story. Drop the speculating, the analyzing. Just breathe.
2. Keep a "Sabbath." Have some regular ritual that is not about your work, something that represents a time of rest, such as a regular dinner with friends or family.
3. Find sacredness of time within a workspace, even if only for the moment, as well as creating ritual practices at work to help stop yourself and re-center. Hand washing is something that all healthcare workers do before visiting a patient, so make that a sacred moment before each visit.
Fall/Winter 2014, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 5/4/2019 - To read the full article, visit

'Ultimate Concerns' are Spiritual Concerns

"You're a what?" The patient raises an eyebrow and looks at me suspiciously.
"I'm a chaplain. I'm part of the hospital team, to focus on your spiritual and emotional needs."
"But I'm not religious."
"That's ok. Neither am I!" My retort brings relaxed laughter and then conversation flows.
Theologian Paul Tillich wrote that faith can be defined as someone's "ultimate concern." Sometimes my patients are concerned with typical religious issues, like where is God in their suffering. Often, people have "ultimate concerns" that society doesn't always see as religious, but when they ground a person's sense of self and being, how are they not spiritual?
Christine Davies ACPE - Spring/Summer 2014, Caring for the Human Spirit Magazine - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 22/3/2019 -To read the full article, visit

Using G.R.A.C.E. as a Resource

To support and empower staff in their sense of resilience, a good resource is the G.R.A.C.E. intervention created by Joan Halifax of the Upaya Institute and Zen Center.
  • Gathering attention, intentional balance, grounding
  • Recalling intention for the good of all
  • Attuning to self/other/affective resonance
  • Considering what will really service
  • Engaging, enacting, ending.
Rev. Judy Long MA/MS. - 2018 Caring for the Human Spirit Conference - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 15/3/2019

Creating an Environment of Self-Care
An integral part of spiritual care is taking care of those we work with and create an environment of self-care. Quick and easy examples include: Complement 3 people publicly. Ask 3 people what they are looking forward to. Change your computer password to something you're looking forward to. Make eye contact and smile. Don't frown while charting or doing paperwork.
Bill Cooper MDiv and Jill DeVries RN-BC - 2018 Caring for the Human Spirit Conference - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network 11/3/2019

Dignity & Personhood
"What should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?" Within the culture of contemporary medicine, issues such as dignity and considerations regarding personhood are often overlooked or relegated to the niceties of care. The role of health care provider as witness also implicates perceptions of dignity and notions of affirmation, requiring a deeper understanding of how to achieve effective empathic communication.
Dr. Harvey Chochinov - 2016 Caring for the Human Spirit Conference  1/3/2019 - HealthCare Chaplaincy Network

Speaking the Language of Recovery
A fair number of patients are admitted to our hospital each week for difficulties involving drugs and/or alcohol. This is a very challenging patient population. Often times they can be changeable, difficult, in denial, manipulative, even charming. There are those with a dual diagnosis, with both mental and physical difficulties. Addiction is definitely a medical-psycho-social disease. I might add that I also consider addiction very much of a spiritual disease.
Elizabeth Jones - Making a Difference: Speaking the Language of Recovery - PlainViews, April 4 2012, Vol. 9, No. 5   - PlainViews- HCCN's Professional Online Journal]

Themes of Discovery in Living with Alzheimer's
 There's a Taoist expression from the Chinese wisdom tradition for describing life--its 10,000 joys and its 10,000 sorrows. We know about those sorrows. When we're being with family members, working with people dealing with dementia, they're huge. I have the image of a stained glass window, and like pieces of colored glass, I'm going to give you bits and pieces of things that we discovered in living with this illness. My husband, Harrison, or Hob, as he was known, was 14 years older than me, so in a way it wasn't surprising that at age 70, he developed the symptoms of Alzheimers disease that he lived with for six years until his death. But let me hold this image of light coming through colored glass. There are three main themes here, and maybe this is like the metal that connects the colored glass. The first one is the spiritual aspects of care giving. These are unique for each of us within our own hearts, and depending on who we're with, whether a family member or we're working professionally. It's an invitation to discover what supports us and what inspires us. We need that. The second is finding meaning in suffering. How do we do that, especially when we're talking about mental diminishment? The third theme is how do we find the gifts, even the grace, amidst adversity? Are there ways we can begin to transform this unbelievable suffering in the midst of it? It's a huge undertaking, but I think it's an invitation.
Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle - Joys and Sorrows of Living with Alzheimer's - PlainViews, May 16, 2012, Vol. 9, No. 8 - [PlainViews- HCCN's Professional Online Journal]

We Rest With You in Those Moments You're Feeling Down

Sprüche aus verschiedenen Quellen

  • If roses grow in Heaven, Lord, please pick a bunch for me, place them in my Mother's arms and tell her they'r from me. Tell her that I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for a while. Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day, but there's an ache withing my heart, that will never go away.
  • I never thought that I'll ever will make it without you. Still; it hurts so deeply, still ; a can't forget - I miss you so much!
  • I am scared to die, because I am afraid to meet you again.... my fears, my secrets are scary....
  • Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
  • The fact that you're stuggling with an llness doesn't make you unloveable or undesirable or underserving for care. It doesn't make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human.
  • Carrying all this pain constantly is exhausting. It is also difficult to sleep with chronic illness, so we don't get enough sleep. The more exhausted you are, the worse the pain gets (and the less you sleep!). Wer are so tired. We learn to pace ourselves so we don't make it wors for tomorrow. We count our moments. Straight OUTTA Skrull room
  • Whatever is in me is stronger than what is out there to defeat me.
  • I get jealous of the life I knew I would be having if I was not chronically ill, not others people's lives.
  • No cure does NOT mean no hope! 
  • My hope is to see you again - one day - we'll be together for ever!
    Quellen: Private Quellen, Arnold Chiarai, Kirsten Preus, Caroline Myss, Straight OUTTA Skrull room,

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