When Is Pastoral Care and Counseling Indicated?
Coping with medical issues is stressful whether it is injury, receiving
a diagnosis, chronic disease or terminal illness. Helping patients and
caregivers deal with the stress that is part of medical treatment. This
often involves counseling patients regarding medical options or using
psychological approaches to address anxiety and stress. Yet, for many
people, this does not completely address their needs. Enveloped within
medical issues are spiritual issues for many people.
For some people spiritual issues are overt and easily identified. This
may include questions about what is the will of God, seeking healing through
prayer or religious rituals, and using spiritual resources such as prayer
and scripture to cope.
For other people the experience of illness is also a spiritual issue though
not explicit. It is more subtle. It may emerge through discussions about
the meaning of illness in the person’s life. Some indicators that
spirituality is involved in health care are:
Area Religious Leaders and Spiritual Care
- The need for forgiveness – This may include the need to forgive others
and/or the need to forgive oneself.
- Unresolved conflicts with loved ones – Illness and disease are stressful
and can create or escalate exiting tensions in relationships.
- Questions about the meaning of life: “Why me?” “What
did I do?” “What am I doing to my family?” “Is
this a punishment for a past wrong? “Is there life after death?”
“Why is there suffering in my life?”
- Area Religious Leaders are encouraged to provide spiritual care to those
to whom they have a direct Pastoral Relationship or Responsibility;
- We encourage ALL Area Religious Leaders to have a badge provided through
the Pastoral Care Department at the badging office. Please call 240-566-4635
for more information;
- Visiting by Area Religious Leaders to the general inpatient population
for spiritual care is prohibited.
- Assistance in notifying patient/family members’ personal Clergy,
Priest, Rabbi, Church, or Worship Center;
- 24 hour access to the Hope Interfaith Chapel;
- Sacred Texts and spiritual support materials.
- Assistance in filling out Advance Directives