What is Spiritual Care?

Professional Clinical Spiritual Care (also known as Pastoral Care or Chaplaincy) is a method of support which recognizes and responds to the needs of the human spirit when faced with trauma, loss, ill health, sadness or end-of-life. These emotional/spiritual needs may include the search for meaning, for self-worth, for comfort, to express oneself, for faith support, for prayer, for reconciliation of strained or broken relationships, for help identifying goals-of-care or taking an accounting of one’s life, situation or legacy. (Adapted from NHS Education for Scotland, 2009)

As a Spiritual Care Counselor, I aim to provide a compassionate presence for my clients in order to build a trusting relationship. Through active listening, guided questions and creative interventions, I help to support you as you move toward healing and reconciliation.

How is Spiritual Care different from other forms of therapy?

Clinical Spiritual Care integrates standard psychological/counseling methods and spiritual frameworks to address a client’s spiritual needs in a holistic way. Spiritual Care enables a person to draw upon and connect to their spiritual resources, which may include their faith and beliefs, certain texts, values, sense of purpose and meaning. 

“Healing” is more than ridding a person of particular symptoms or difficulties. It relates to that aspect of care that attends to the deep inner structures of meaning, value and purpose that form the foundation of all human experience. Healing therefore is “a spiritual task that stretches beyond the boundaries of disease and cure” (Swinton, J. 2001. Spirituality and Mental Health Care. London: Jessical Kingsley). 

What are the benefits of Spiritual Care? 

Studies have shown that spiritual distress (including unresolved religious or spiritual conflicts or doubts; lack of meaning or purpose) is associated with decreased health, and slower recovery rate from illness or loss. Spiritual Care helps individuals to identify the nature of the distress and works with individuals to draw upon their resources for coping. By engaging in this therapeutic process, people have expressed the following benefits: 

  • Healthy grieving of losses
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Improved relationships (with self, others, and/or God)
  • Renewed sense of meaning and purpose
  • Enhanced feeling of belonging
  • Improved capacity for making important decisions around life and death
  • Improved resilience for problems that are not easily solved
  • Renewed hope 

 

How often/long are the sessions? 

Sessions can be as often or as frequent as needed. They last for 45 minutes. 

Where do the sessions take place? 

Sessions can take place by zoom or in person in the Ra’anana location. However, for anyone struggling with illness or end-of-life, sessions may be available at your location and I will travel to you. 

How many sessions are recommended? 

For some people, one in-depth session suffices. Most people need more time. The average amount of sessions is four to six.
If the care needed extends beyond the limits of Spiritual Care and into the realm of psychological support or other therapies, we will work together to refer you to another professional. 

What if I am not a religious person or what if I don’t believe in God? 

Spiritual Care is for everyone. A person’s spiritual resources may not be the religion they grew up with or belief in God. Spirituality, after all, is an aspect of humanity that refers to the way people seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connections to self, to others, to nature and can include the sacred and aspect of transcendence. Your spiritual resources may be, for example, your connection to music, dance, art or family.

How does this work help families? 

Family members and close friends witnessing a loved one struggle with ill-health or loss can trigger many emotions, including feelings of helplessness or spiritual distress. Spiritual Care can support those care-givers and family members by enabling them to connect to their spiritual resources during trying times.