Three Doors to Spiritual Reflection. Ethnographic Research on the Role of Emotion, Images and Sacred Texts in Spiritual Reflection done by non-chaplaincy Health Care Professionals CASC/ACSS April 15, 2011. Authors.
Ethnographic Research on the Role of Emotion, Images and Sacred Texts in Spiritual Reflection done by non-chaplaincy Health Care Professionals
CASC/ACSS April 15, 2011
Thomas St. James O’Connor, ThDMichael Chow, MA, MDivElizabeth Meakes, MTS Janet Young, MTS Gary Payne, MDiv Myrta Rivera, MA Laura MacGregor, MSc Janet Howitt, MDiv/MSW
Director, St. Joseph’s Health System, Diocese of Hamilton
Specialist & Teaching Supervisor (CASC)
Professional Practice Leader, Spiritual Care
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Specialist & Teaching Supervisor (CASC)
In Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, Vol 64, No 1 (2010)
What are the practices of spiritual reflection
for health care professionals who are not chaplains
who provide spiritual care to their clients?
1) What are the sources you use for spiritual reflection?
2) How do you define spiritual reflection? Any spiritual authors you use?
3. How much time weekly on spiritual reflection?
4. Similarities & differences between prayer & spiritual reflection
5. Goal of spiritual reflection?
6. How important is spiritual reflection for identity?
7. Which groups-colleagues, clients, & other profession.?
8. Role of emotion and images in spiritual reflection? Is there an image or verse from a sacred text that describes spiritual reflection?
9. Give me an example of spiritual reflection from your practice
10. Image or verse from a sacred text and/or any other source that describes it.
11. Any other comments.
From “In the Beginning” publication:
For a few minutes please consider:
Sources for Theological vs. Spiritual Reflection
Chap/Past CounsellorOT, Nurses, SW
1. Sacred texts 63/75 1.Mus, Art, Lit 11/20
2. Pers. Exp. 50/75 2. Sacred text 11/20
3. Experience/Clients 42/75 3. Per/Prof Exp. 7/20
4. Faith Tradition 39/75 4. No sacred txt 4/20
5. Lit. & Soc. Sci. 26/75 5. Nature 4/20
Definitions of Theological vs Spiritual Reflection
Chap./Past. Coun. OT., Nurses, SW.
Outcomes of Spiritual Reflection
Some form of Transformation results from Spiritual Reflection
“In our research, we found that emotion and images were the two main doors to spiritual reflection …
…A third door used by some was sacred texts but most participants acknowledged that they had little education in the sacred texts.
Sacred texts were more of a side door and not the main doors.
Also a consequence of this spiritual reflection … was transformation.”
Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (1995)
Fosha, Siegel & Solomon, 2009
“… many healthcare professionals … believe that addressing the spiritual needs of clients and patients is within their scope of practice and part of holistic care.”
“Most research on spirituality and health is done by these non-chaplaincy professionals and researchers…”
“However with these professionals, there is a gap between research, the interest and the actual practice.”
“It is not known how much spiritual care is actually done by the non-chaplaincy disciplines.”
(Schon, 1983; Mezirow, 1997; Mamede & Schmidt, 2004)
“However, there has been no empirical research on the role of emotion, images and sacred texts in spiritual reflection among non-chaplaincy health care professionals.”
Ethnography studies cultures within their contexts
Interviewees fall into 3 groups of spiritual practice:
“The transformation that takes place in some ways is beyond the control of the professional and in many ways paradoxical.”
“The experience of these health care professionals is that sacred texts are not a requirement for spiritual reflection.
However, emotion and images are required for spiritual experience and reflection.”
“One finding of the previous study on theological reflection is that the chaplains and other participants had gone beyond the methods and science of theological reflection that they had learned in their graduate studies into a creative and poetic imagination learned from experience, from the living human document.”
“We recommend, based on the current study, that the various health care professionals who engage in spiritual care collaborate with chaplains on further study of the role of emotions, images and sacred texts in spiritual and theological reflection.”
We welcome your thoughts, comments…