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  1. I blog at Job Finding How To strategies and tactics that lead to success and Silverspoon Folks, a membership of the consistently prosperous. I find its best to ask how a client is dealing with the unseen. Religion is too heavy of a word and spirituality is too high-brow. The unseen takes us into a place of possibility and magic. Using the ‘unseen’ allows exploration without contemnation. Clients don’t seem to spend a lot of time thinking, but usually are charmed enough to relax and let whatever come forth.

  2. Sprituality is a natural springing forth of compassion and all-embracing heart-felt love from our deepest selves; an inner knowing and acceptance that we are part of a much larger intelligent system that is benevelant and kind at source. Religion, in all its many forms, and including the three largest, is a set of beliefs and ideals that are man made, even when gleaned from the wise words of prophets. Prophets, too, are human, and therefore subject to error of judgement, fallibility and corruption. True sprituality is not religious in the dogmatic sense; rather it is an emergent property of a happy human being expressing his/her joy at the wonder of being alive on this miracle planet in this marvellous universe, expressed in a unique way by the individual. It is a child-like, pure and joyous expression untainted by beliefs (which are human constructs) and dogmas. I would ask questions centred around our interconnectedness, and while respecting a patients religious veiws, steer them gently back to the spiritual question which is by its very nature non-harming, kind-hearted, receptive and compassionate. Ask: ‘How do you experience yourself in the bigger picture, the greater whole?’ ‘How are we all connected?’ ‘What brings you comfort and joy?’ ‘How important is love and acceptance for all beings.’ These kind of open questions will help the patient understand what you mean by ‘spiritual.’ The meaning ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ have become confused for the simple fact that they are not mutually exclusive. Maybe now in the 21st Century we need a new term to describe our personal experience of the divine intelligence? I simply call ‘it’ Grace.

    • Much needed, Important, and truly excellent reply by Gyp Kenton-Romay above.
      P.S. As an example, my father was a scientist /a poetic rationalist, and existentialist (and a recovering “…” -won’t mention the name of the mainstream religion.)
      He would have been open to all of the above questions described by Gyp Kenton-Romay- although “Divine Intelligence” and even”Grace” would have been terminology too “loaded” for him.
      He loved Life- people, art, science, nature, travel, golf, comedy, foreign films … at 87, he told us that he his idea of Heaven was his family. The doctor. at his passing. sent us a letter saying he had so enjoyed knowing my father, as he found him to be a man of brave dignity and warmth, and wit.

  3. It needs more than a script. Peope need to know what they are talking about. The only bit I can endorse is asking the person”Do you have a religion and does it mean much to you?” then follow it up by defining spiritual things which do not belong in a formal religion.
    Big question is how does a practitioner assure the patient he or she is not a prosletizer for a theology.
    Big difficulty is at least three religions use a cncept that mankind is imperfect and a very nasty all powerfull God awates their death with judgement and Hell. The big nasty three also have few members who accept scientific facts about homosexuality.
    My tentative answer is ensure all practitioners state their own beliefs so the patient can ban any conversation if they so chose. Prayer may do good but the theology racism, sexism and homiaphobia undoes all it help and there are people in large numbers who believe their own eternity will be spent in Hell if they do not oppose sex equality, homosexuality, all sex outside marraige and add contraceptives to that list. A test of belief and practice of on these questions should be part of licence to practice. Also ask the Rationalists if they would consider aperson insane to believe in Angels? The Rationalsts are not without predjudice when dealing with the very religious patients.
    all the best wishes Dorothy Chambers

    • Dorothy, I like your point about ensuring that ‘spiritual’ values do not become corrupted with an invitation to discuss one of the three major religions.
      And I maintain that apart from checking whether someone has a religious background that they wish to revisit, that the discussion of values is a psychological and existential one rather than ‘spiritual’, as there are so many connotations and baggage with this word.
      ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has 6 main areas, one of which is values. I have many discussions with clients about values, however have never called it ‘spiritual’. We all have to be able to articulate ourselves to ourselves, including what we think we are on about. And this keeps changing as we pass through various stages and experiences.
      And also being informed by ‘The Stages of Change’, its important to help those who are precontemplators to clarify how they will articulate their values so they can set appropriate goals to begin to form those precious health habits.
      Dawn

  4. Practitioners reluctance to incorporate Spirit in their purported Body-Mind-Spirit practice in many cases stems from apprehension of a negative response from patients to the doctor, “talking about religion”.
    When I hear a doctor say goofy things like that, it confirms that the practitioner has a poor grasp of his/her role in the healing process. With any luck, your presentations will contribute to healing the healer so (s)he may do a better job.
    Since knowing the way is not going the way, communication-challenged novitiate healers need help with the actual verbal communication. I’m convinced that aware healthcare providers, irrespective of discipline, would more readily embrace and regularly address patient/client spirituality during the intake consult if they only had the language to use.
    I’ve heard far too many well meaning healthcare providers bumble and stumble through the spiritual facet of initial consult. All they needed was a well crafted script.
    Savvy copywriters we ain’t.