A Reflection on Empowerment through Spirituality
Relationships between Disabled Individuals and their Assistants Explored in the Process of Renewing a Spiritual Guidebook in Finland
Keywords:spirituality, Empowerment, Mental health, Assistant
This article provides a reflection upon empowerment through spirituality. It presents the way in which the updating process of a spiritual guidebook was taken forward in Finland. The original guidebook, which was meant to be used in hospitals by healthcare professionals and chaplains, was published in 1996. At one point, it became evident that the original guidebook no longer correlated with the changing realities of Finnish society. At the time that the guidebook was originally published, Finnish society was rather homogenous and Christianity dominated the discourse. Nowadays, society has become more pluralistic and the discourse has become more enriched. The Nordic healthcare system increasingly includes people from diverse religious groups. The project to update the guidebook, which ran from 2014 to 2020, aimed to give social and healthcare professionals working in a variety of settings an easy way to update their knowledge on providing spiritual care. The primary objective of the project was to renew and update the guidebook to better match the contemporary spiritual landscape of Finland. The project had several stages. In the first phase, master’s degree students conducted thesis research to produce new information and evidence for the process. In the second phase, data from the two theses were synthesized and analyzed, and the results were used to update the guidebook. The revised guidebook was ready to go to press in March 2020. In this article, we provide insights into the project, and reflect on our own understanding of the role of spirituality in our society and in healthcare based on the work of one of the master’s theses. The master’s thesis discovers relationships between disabled individuals and their assistants, and suggests changes to the guidebook through widening the horizon of spirituality in the caring relationship.
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