Given the pervasiveness of religious and spiritual belief in the lives of many patients, it is curious that it is only recently that the association of religion, and/or spirituality, with mental and medical health clinical practice has become a focus of empirical research and published literature. Perhaps this scarcity of empirical attention stems from what has come to be seen as a basic and long-standing “disconnection” between the scientific and spiritual communities – from Galileo onward. In an effort to bridge this gap, this course provides mental healthcare professionals with the information necessary to integrate theoretical and evidence-based data with related psychological theory and practical clinical skills to treat patients facing acute, chronic, and/or terminal illness in a more holistic manner – attending to their spiritual and/or religious beliefs. The foundation of the information presented within this course view spirituality and religion as vital aspects of an individual and as potentially adaptive coping mechanisms in the face of a threat to one’s health.
Definitions of the terms “spirituality” and “religion” will be presented, along with relevant national prevalence data. The ethical obligation to address these aspects in the patient care will be discussed. Finally, an approach in which mental health providers can learn to sensitively support and affirm the health-promoting aspects of spirituality and/or religion in each patient's life will be demonstrated. Topics include the search for "meaning" in illness, acceptance vs. resignation with regard to one’s illness, and grace in coping across the disease continuum.
This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.
After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
- Summarize the theory- and evidence-based data regarding the association between spirituality and psychological, as well as physical, well-being
- Identify at least 2 ways to clinically assess/address the spiritual needs of their patients and to respectfully distinguish between their own views and those of their patients
- Appropriately discuss 3 relevant religious and/or spiritual topics with medically ill patients in a therapeutic capacity including meaning, acceptance and grace