A Pastoral Comparison Between Larry Cullifords Article "Spirituality And Clinical Care" And Other Pastoral Care Literature

1359 words - 5 pages

In Larry Culliford's article 'Spirituality and clinical care' he briefly covers several elements of spiritual care and how it is or should be in the clinical health care setting. Culliford describes spirituality as essentially unifying where he believes religion can be divisive. Other themes he talks about are that the mechanistic/reductionist view of patients in health care is no longer adequate for good care and that faith, hope and compassion have value in the healing process. He also highlights why he believes spiritual care has not been implemented much so far.Culliford is a psychiatrist and so is involved in psychological care which, along with biomedical care, dominates the top end of the care hierarchy so it is good to see such a science based professional exploring and supporting the idea of spiritual care in a clinical setting. I liked the way he supported his stance with both correlation and longitudinal studies especially as this may help gain support for spiritual care among other science and outcomes based professions.Culliford identifies why he believes spiritual care isn't often implemented and that the 'problems; education, economics, environment and personal obsticles for spiritual carers are all interrelated'. I feel that identifying the problems surrounding lack of pastoral/spiritual care in the clinical setting is extremely useful as it allows changes to be made in response to these obsticles. However, just addressing these problems won't necessarily increase the level of spiritual care in clinical health care because attitudes towards spiritual care held by the professionals in clinical health care would also have to be altered for any other changes to be effective.Another good point Culliford raises is that spiritual care can be particularly important where medicine is unable to cure. This is especially illustrated in palliative care units where pastoral care has its biggest niche. I think this is certainly often the case because when biomedical and psychological care fail often spiritual or pastoral care become the predominant form of patient care.I had several reservations reading this article; firstly, it had a fairly clinical feel and this influence how I believed Culliford viewed pastoral care. He talks about 'maximising personal potential' and 'excellent results' from teaching meditation. Also his data and stats seem tome to show he feels pastoral care needs to have outcomes and proven benefits. This is contrary to my understanding of pastoral care as a passive, accepting role that is for the patient if that's what they want and not to be forced on patients because a study finds that its 'proven' to be good for people. Personal potential and good health results may e the result of pastoral care or they may not. Certainly all pastoral carers would hope their patient benefits from their interaction but I don't believe pastoral care should have set outcomes like reaching maximal potential, its more about connecting with...

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