A pastoral comparison between Larry Cullifords article "spirituality and clinical care" and other pastoral care literature

Essay by lollypopgeorgeCollege, UndergraduateB-, August 2007

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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...