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Chapter 2 - Spiritual Assessment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2022

Christopher C. H. Cook
Affiliation:
Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Andrew Powell
Affiliation:
Formerly Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford
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Summary

This chapter discusses why a spiritual assessment is necessary when planning a patient’s mental health care and treatment. It considers the following reasons why psychiatric patients’ spiritual needs should be addressed: (1) the role of spirituality in helping people to stay well, which aligns with the current strengths-based approach to care; (2) patient/carer demand; and (3) increasing research evidence of a positive link between spirituality and mental health. The various approaches to spiritual assessment are described, including the initial brief screening, the spiritual history and the more in-depth assessment that may need to be undertaken by a chaplain or therapist. Tools relevant to each approach are presented before considering what happens after the assessment. Finally, some of the challenges associated with spiritual assessment are discussed, such as documenting/sharing information about spiritual issues, conflict between clinician and patient worldviews, and clinician discomfort/lack of preparedness. Links to educational resources are provided.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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