What Do I Say?: Talking with Patients about Spirituality [With DVD]

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Health care professionals, clergy, chaplains, social workers, and others who counsel people in medical crisis often find themselves faced with deeply painful questions: Why is this happening to me? Am I dying? Why should I live? I'm just a burden to others.
Here is a workbook that suggests healing verbal responses to such expressions of spiritual pain. The accompanying DVD helps reinforce the lessons and exercises that integrate psychology, psychiatry, pastoral counseling, nursing, chaplaincy, and spiritual direction for whole person care.
The author, an internationally recognized expert in spiritual caregiving, points out that wanting to help is one motivation for learning these skills, but there are also evidence-based reasons: helping patients express their innermost feelings promotes spiritual healing; spiritual health is related to physical and emotional health; spiritual coping helps patients accept and deal with their illness; and patients tend to want their health care professionals to know about their spirituality.
Lessons, tips, and exercises teach how to listen effectively, with guidelines for detecting and understanding the spiritual needs embedded in patients' conversations. Suggestions are provided for verbal responses to patients who express spiritual distress, including tips for building rapport, using self-disclosure, and praying with patients. A FAQ section deals with frequently asked questions and miscellaneous information, such as:

  • What do I do when a patient talks on and on and I have to leave?
  • How do I answer a "why" question?
  • What do I say to a patient who believes a miracle will happen to cure them?
  • What if I'm not religious? How can I talk about it?

By practicing and using these healing techniques, Taylor explains, healthcare professionals will be able to provide patients responses to their questions that allow them to become intellectually, emotionally, and physically aware of their spirituality so they can experience life more fully.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599471174
  • Publisher: Templeton Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 754,366
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Johnston Taylor has a Ph.D. in Nursing and an M.S.N. in Oncology Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as training in chaplaincy and spiritual direction. She has authored or co-authored more than fifty publications and has been awarded eight funded research projects. She lectures frequently on spirituality and health and is currently associate professor, School of Nursing, at Loma Linda University in California. She lives in San Marino, California.
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Table of Contents

Foreword     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Let's Begin!     1
Why should I learn this skill?     2
About this workbook     4
Assumptions     6
Preparing the Healer     9
What are my spiritual pains?     9
How do my spiritual pains affect my responses to patients?     12
But if I'm always being wounded, won't I die?     14
Why do I disengage from patients' feelings?     16
Assumptions that silence     17
What is a wounded healer like?     19
Tips for how to survive in the clinical setting as a wounded healer     21
Listening: Beginning the Healing Response     25
Dimensions of listening     27
What to listen for     29
Tips for how to listen     31
Making Sense of What You Hear     41
What are spiritual needs?     41
What does spirituality look and sound like?     42
Tips for making sense of what you hear     45
Verbal Responses to Spiritual Pain: Micro-skills     53
Micro-skills: Goals and guidelines     54
Building rapport     59
Restatements     61
Open questions     65
Reflecting feelings and advanced empathy     69
Self-disclosure     80
Verbal Responses to Spiritual Pain: Macro-skills     85
Story listening     85
Body listening     90
Nurturing resilience and reframing     92
Religious practices     97
FAQs     101
Putting It All Together     119
Lets practice!     119
An encouraging word     126
Answers for Exercises     129
Notes     139
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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    Practical advice for medical professionals and for faith-group representatives on having focused conversations about how patients make meaning of their illness/injury.

    I ordered the book with DVD for myself and several for students who desired to learn to have meaning-based conversations with hospitalized persons. The book would be helpful for anyone who wants to learn how to have any kind of serious conversation in the broad area of meaning or personal spirituality. The method applies to individuals who profess no faith as well as helpful in an inter-faith or cross-faith situation.

    The method focuses on helpful listening skills and ways in which to quickly and respectfully help others "come to the point" - a real skill for busy health professionals. Helps medical, nursing and tech students with making a rapid psycho-social-spiritual assessment. Helpful in pinpointing spiritual distress. I think it would be a great resource for facilities attempting to comply or correct spiritual assessment issues with the Joint Commission.

    In the lay visitation arena, the book helps with helping the conversation move from the superficial social visit to helping the individual reflect and explore spiritual or religious issues.

    Easy to read; suggests various exercises to deepen the learning. The DVD is helpful in terms of presenting vignettes for group discussion. The DVD does not substitute for the book's content.

    I have been collecting this type of book for over thirty years and this is the first one I have seen that does not have a religious bias, making it helpful for any professional or student who cares for others in a pluralistic setting, as well as applicable for faith-group leaders who make hospital visits with the intention of having conversations about spirituality.

    Very practical, easily adaptable. Very patient-centered.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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