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Spirituality and Mental Health

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Title: Spirituality and Mental Health


1
Spirituality and Mental Health
Finding Meaning
Giving and Receiving Love
Encountering Hope
2
Spirituality is the search for meaning through
the inner journey which is mediated through
relationships - sometimes with each other,
- sometimes with nature and - sometimes with
God. Harriet Mowat
harriet.mowat_at_mowatresearch.co.uk
3
It is the spirit of human beings which enables
and motivates us to search for meaning and
purpose in life, to seek the supernatural, or
some meaning which transcends us… CW
Ellison, as quoted in Swinton …its a
quality which goes beyond religious affiliation,
that strives for inspiration, reverence and awe,
even in those who do not believe in any god.
Nursing Concepts for Health Promotion,
Murray Zentner Whats important is to
appreciate that our spirituality,- our search for
meaning, hope, purpose in life, and our means of
transcendence cant be treated apart from the
whole- because its an integrative force which
vitalises and permeates every dimension of the
human person. CW Ellison, as quoted in
Swinton,
4

We can view Mental illness as
Clinical Experience -
Social Experience -
Lived Experience -
Spiritual Experience -
5
As a Clinical Experience
Schizophrenia is a brain disease,… It exhibits
symptoms of a brain disease, symptoms which
include impairment in thinking, delusions,
hallucinations, changes in emotions, and changes
in behaviour. And, like cancer, probably has more
than one cause. E. Fuller Torrey
Surviving Schizophrenia.
  • How we view the person
  • How the person may view the self
  • Treatment and care

6
A Personal Response I cannot think of anything
more destructive of ones sense of worth as a
human being than to believe that the inner core
of ones being is sick that ones thoughts,
values, feelings, and beliefs are merely the
meaningless symptoms of a sick mind…What the
concept of mental illness offered me was
scientific proof that I was utterly worthless,
and would always be worthless. It was just the
nature of my genes, chemistry and brain processes
something I could do nothing about. John
Modrow How to become Schizophrenic

7
A social experience
Mental health problems are social experiences -
open to various forms of interpretation, abuse
and manipulation. J.Swinton
  • Cultural Issues
  • Gender issues
  • Impacting on the person, family members and
    friends

8
Process of Disintegration
9
My sense is that people often become psychotic
because they have constructed a personality that
is not congruent with who they really are. This
happens because they are sensitive children, who
perceive things going on in their environment
that are not confirmed by the people around them.
Thus the child builds up a personality for the
sake of adaptation that is quite incongruent with
his or her true nature As life goes on, this
discrepancy between the adaptation and the real
person becomes greater and greater, so that a
rather large split develops. Often in psychosis
it is as if the ego dissolves - an ego that is
brittle and not connected in a human way to what
the person is deeply. This kind of psychotic
episode is an opportunity for the person to heal
in a deeper way. p.17.Dallett, J. (1988) When The
Spirits Come Back.
10
Mental illness is a profound crisis of personal
meaning.
11
This crisis of personal meaning entails -a loss
for the person of their sense of place and
belonging in world, their connectedness with
others
.
- Old purposes and meanings no longer exist.
It raises questions of - identity, self-worth,
values, belonging, trust, purpose and direction
in life.
12
You know, if I wasnt made in Gods image and
likeness I dont know what I would be like.
So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God he created him male and female he
created them RSV Genesis 1 27
13
We are not human beings on a spiritual
journey. We are spiritual beings on a human
journey. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
14
  • Spirituality has to do with
  • the ultimate questions of life,
  • the meaning of personhood
  • and the search for identity and
  • personal integrity

15
Spirituality - concern for the wholeness of life
in which
  • the person longs for meaning and purpose
  • to give and receive love

  • to experience hope

16
Who am I?
Why am I in this world?
What is going to happen to me my friends?
How can I save the situation?
How can I atone for my mistakes and sins?
Boisen,A. The Exploration of the Inner World
17
Some forms of Mental Illness are the persons
attempt to resolve a problem of the soul.
Boisen,A. The Exploration of the Inner
World.
18
Just as symptoms like fever cough are not
diseases but rather the bodys attempt to fight
an infection, so too psychiatric symptoms like
anxiety depression are not themselves diseases
but rather the souls attempt to resolve an inner
conflict- by forcing us to pay attention to the
unconscious…
Frattorelli, E. Healing the Soul in the Age of
the Brain

19
What gives this persons life meaning?
What is it that sustains them amid this crisis?
20
Our Pastoral Response
To enter the lived felt situation
Art work by Noel Factor
21
  • Entering into, or coming alongside the persons
    lived, felt experience of Mental illness
  • Empathising, listening, and validating her
    experience, and in doing so, communicate that I
    understand something of her experience
  • Spiritual care is an invitation to see the world
    and be with people in a way that is sensitive to
    their inner experience.
  • At times it is holding the personhood of the
    person even when they may be lost to themselves.

22
In Psychosis, the continuing recollections of
the mental and emotional events seem to express
something of a deeper yearning a longing to
understand the heart and mind, however
disordered, to find the thread of meaning that
can be woven into the fabric along the
way. Conroy,C. Spirituality and Mental
Health - Breakthrough
23
You may have been diagnosed with a mental
illness, but you are not an illness. You are a
human being whose life is precious and is of
infinite value. You are precious and good. You
are not trash to be discarded or a broken
object that must be fixed. You are not insane.
You do not belong in institutions for the rest
of your life. You don't belong on the streets.
You are a human being. You carry within you a
precious flame, a spark of the divine. You were
born to love and to be loved. That's your
birthright. Mental illness cannot take that
away from you. Nobody can take that from you.
YOU CARRY WITHIN YOU A PRECIOUS FLAME You may
have been diagnosed with mental illness , But you
are not an illness. You are a human being whose
life is precious and of infinite value. You are
precious and good. You are not trash to be
discarded or a broken object that must be
fixed You are not insane. You do not belong in
institutions for the rest of your life. You dont
belong on the streets. You are a human being You
carry within you a precious flame, a spark of the
divine. You were born to love and beloved. Thats
your birthright Mental illness cannot take that
away from you, Nobody can take that from
you. Patricia Deegan, Recovering Our Sense of
Value after Being Labeled Mentally Ill. Journal
of Psychosocial Nursing Vol. 31, No.41993
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