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Category: Spiritual Care

Spirituality in Hospice Care

Spirituality in Hospice Care

Spirituality in Hospice Care

How Staff and Volunteers Can Support the Dying and Their Families

Edited by Andrew Goodhead and Nigel Hartley Jessica Kingsley Publishers

2017, 240pp (pbk) ISBN: 9781785921025 £19.99

 

The concepts of spirituality and spiritual care are complex. This book makes a distinctive and important contribution to the growing literature in this area. It is well organised and carefully written. The chapters narrate the experience of engaging in the support of those dying and others who accompany them. Their richness are due in part to the range of professional perspective which include medics, nurses, physiotherapists, educators, managers, artists, volunteers, psychotherapists, chaplains and social workers. There is a quality of reflexivity in each of the chapters. The editors have attracted both a breadth and variety of experience.

The book is published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of St Christopher’s Hospice. It is a fascinating reflection on how our attempts to think about and deliver spiritual care continue to both change and develop.

It is an informative and illuminating book and I shall be certainly pointing some of my students wishing to enlarge their perspective on pastoral care to areas of discussion contained within some of the chapters.

Anyone who risks engaging with those who are embracing mortality will certainly be changed by the sheer complexity and difference within which an individual moves from life to death. It is a messy and complicated business where even the neatest of theories and definitions are bound to reach their limits. The balance, connectivity and gaps between what we know and what remains incomprehensible; between the relationship between religion and spirituality remain important to interrogate. There is further work for us all to do in this area. If we are to be faithful to our commitment to journey with those who are dying then language, metaphor, narrative and silence are wells of wisdom to be drawn from.

Potential and possibility are the hallmarks of these essays. They demand our careful attention and should challenge us into further thinking and action.

 

James Woodward

Sarum College

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscence Work with Older Adults

Reminiscence Work with Older Adults

The Multi-Sensory Reminiscence Activity Book

52 Weekly Group Session Plans for Working with Older Adults

Sophie Jopling and Sarah Mousley

Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017 ISBN: 9781785922398

 

There are few of us in early middle age who do not know someone who is living with some of the opportunities and challenges of growing older. Sadly for some of our loved ones this includes a significant amount of confusion and memory loss caused by dementia -related illness.

Jessica Kingsley continues its reputation for providing practical books informed by learning and theory to support professionals in their engagement with older adults. This book offers what it describes as multi-sensory group sessions for each day of the year.

Here is an indication of the range and scope of the starting points: train travel, coffee, the Queen and her Coronation, summer, apples, bonfire night, chocolate and  school days. Reminiscence is used to stimulate memory and sensory function.  When reading and reflecting on the exercises it is possible to glimpse the carefulness with which each session is planned to see and feel the difference that this engagement might make.

The authors are state registered occupational therapists and as such are aware of the importance of clarity both in relation to objectives and resources. Activities range from word games and poetry to food tasting, music and group discussions. Downloadable colour photographs and word cards are offered in addition as tools for conversation.

We should also note the carefulness with which the writers have planned activities for people with a range of abilities in order to support memory, sensory function communication and connection. There is imagination and fun – engagement and practicality running throughout this workbook.

Faced with significant fear around memory loss and the immediate sense of not being able to connect and help it is not an overstatement to note that this book has real capacity for transformative support and care. It is much needed as we consider how best to support and develop our responsibility to older adults and their experience and place within the community.

 

James Woodward

 

Spiritual Care: luxury or necessity?

Spiritual Care: luxury or necessity?

 

9781849059763[1]

Spiritual Care in Practice : Case studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy

Edited by George Fitchett and Steve Nolan

Paperback 2015, 320pp, ISBN: 978-1-84905-976-3

It seems as if English bank holiday weekends bring out the some of the more gloomy of stories in our newspapers. I imagine journalists finishing their holidays in France have left some of these pieces for their editors to fill in copy as and when needed. Whatever the case August 2016 has brought with it some profoundly disturbing reflections on the significant financial crises that face our National Health Service. Faced with the economic realities of overspend (where the causes seem less than clear) clinicians and managers are faced with some difficult choices to make in relation to priorities in health care spending.

It is against this background that George Fitchett (working out of Chicago) and my colleague Steve Nolan offer this collection of case studies and critical reflections that speak very lucidly about what healthcare chaplains do from day to day in and through their presence and engagement in this ministry.

Take a look at the cover above and it will give you some insight into two or three of the key characteristics of chaplaincy as embodied by Steve Nolan who is pictured there. There is a quality of listening and engagement. It is done together and across professional boundaries. Look at Nolan’s hand – it appears to indicate some assertion, perhaps responding to a disagreement within that small group but with a gentle but determined sense of direction. I am guessing that the conversation focuses upon the patient and their care.

Whatever the picture conveys to you – inside the book is a treasure chest of experience. None of the authors are unafraid to open themselves up to critical self reflection. There is careful attention to experience. All of this is evaluated with responses from professionals within chaplaincy, psychology, psychiatry and nursing as together the team explores the central focus of the importance of spiritual care for healthcare. This element within the work of human flourishing is an absolute necessity and certainly not a luxury!

The book is carefully edited and I should be wanting to use some of it in facilitating learning around the nature of the pastoral and Pastoral engagement here at Sarum College. Again and again the chapters remind the reader of the vital role of story and the necessity for imagination if there is to be some measure of transformation and flourishing in both the practice and experience  of care. This is certainly Pastoral and practical theology at its very best.

 

Here is some further information from the book:
“From a 16-year-old with a belief that God would enable a miraculous recovery from paralysis, to an African man with a history of psychosis and depression whose cultural belief in witches complicated his treatment, to a dying Jewish man, aggressive and isolated due to his traumatic life experiences, each case includes insight into the patient’s needs and chaplain’s perspectives, discussion of spiritual assessments and spiritual care interventions, and accounts of significant encounters and dialogues.

The nine paediatric, psychiatric and palliative case studies and reflections in this ground-breaking book will enable chaplains to critically reflect on the spiritual care they provide and communicate their work more effectively, help healthcare professionals develop a clearer understanding of the care chaplains deliver, and provide an informed perspective for those who develop policy around spiritual care and need to make the case for chaplaincy services. ”

James Woodward

Sarum College

Spiritual Accompaniment

Spiritual Accompaniment

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Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with psyche and soul

Edited by Peter Masden Gubi 

Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015  paperback 192 pages  £16.99

Here at Sarum College ( www.sarum.ac.uk )  our two year certificate in spiritual direction is very popular to a wide variety of individuals who wish to build upon, reflect and improve their practice. In a world dominated by individualism, consumerism and materialism all of us need places and people we can draw upon for support, friendship and direction. This is particularly the case when we face crossroads, choices or crises.

As I write (10th July 2016) the General Synod of the Church of England has gone into private session to continue its deliberations about how far and to what extent it can embrace the agenda of inclusivity around gender and sexuality. While there are strong feelings on all sides there are far too many individuals and groups who regard Christianity with suspicion and even would want to place a significant health warning to its ability to embrace the ever wider and sometimes more complex horizons of people’s identity and experience. One might argue that there is a great deal that is lost in this political marginalisation. Put another way – who do we turn to when life becomes difficult and perplexing? The danger for the church is that its spiritual wisdom is overlooked in favour of therapy and therapeutic practice.

This volume of essays, nine in all, attempts very successfully to explore what it might be like to attune to the spiritual processes  of other people especially in the area of crisis, abuse, grief and pain. The essays intelligently explore the lifespan and how forgiveness and wholeness might be embedded into practice. The Christian tradition has a great deal to learn from the way in which psychotherapy and counselling seek to embrace a spiritual dimension. One might argue that if one wants to look for creativity and life in matters of the soul and spirit then it is to the liminal edges that one might look. These essays represent the very best of that creative liminal margin.

These are carefully written and skilfully edited essays. They deal with relationship, forgiveness, spiritual crisis, pain, suffering, lifespan development, grief and spiritual abuse. There is an excellent essay by Lynette Harborne on the importance of supervision and as ever with Jessica Kingsley books the book is attractively printed with a clear index and bibliography. Clarity and skilfulness in presenting complex material is one of this book’s key strengths.

Gubi writes in his introduction that this book is written to heighten practitioners awareness of the spiritual dimension in listening (page 22) – what follows in the subsequent  170 pages will stimulate, illuminate and expand horizons in such a way that we might all be challenged to work for human flourishing and societal well-being.

James Woodward

Principal Sarum College