Sketching the pathways for reintegrating spirituality into healthcare practices

This chart was developed as an informal way of mapping the various pathways being used by healthcare professionals and the public as both practitioners and patients integrate spirituality into their lives, practices, and care choices. From the viewpoint of medical historian and ethicist Dr. David Hufford of Penn State University, the movement toward a more spiritually based approach to healthcare represents a reintegration of spirituality into healing practices. Dr. Hufford has observed that the 19th century was characterized by a great diversity of healing practices that included room for "religious healing." "Every person [was] his or her own doctor," he notes. Spiritual issues were divorced from healthcare only in the past century as the triad of science, technology, and medicine became the dominant paradigm.

The content of this chart comes from my own experience in the healthcare field as a former psychotherapist and now as a Christian Science practitioner, from research and analysis, and from extensive conversations with health-care professionals over the past few years.

May 27, 2002

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