When people are faced with severe health problems, they often reconsider their belief systems, turning to religious or non-religious spirituality. However, some people view spirituality as separate from religion because the latter separates people while the former unites them (Cornelio et al., 2021). Still, this concept is often used in the religious context since religious teachings cultivate morality, praise virtuous behavior, and give followers intangible strength. In the religious sense, this term can be defined as a system that incorporates rituals and practices in the name of God that enables the development of spirituality (Cornelio et al., 2021). In contrast, non-religious groups describe spirituality as “a powerful inner energy with the capability to increase working capacity, overcome stress-related problems and empower the individual” (Cornelio et al., 2021, p. 55). It is still considered an essential element of humans’ lives, especially in the era of digitalization and the surge of chronic diseases.
Religion and spirituality are two sensitive topics that require a unique approach when communicating with patients. The personal healing stories attained with the help of acceptance, praying, and believing in a more significant purpose are popular and inspiring for millions of patients seeking hope (Cornelio et al., 2021). Although I do not particularly appreciate discussing these themes, I still feel comfortable asking questions about spirituality. Moreover, if a patient’s belief system is different from the clinician’s, then the healthcare worker should try to focus on similarities between the core values of the two religions, avoiding arguments and conflict. Suppose two patients have a terminal illness, and one of them is religious, and another is not, but the question of spirituality is a consideration. In that case, both patients should receive spiritual support from a pastoral worker and psychotherapist, respectively. Overall, I think that regardless of a clinician’s religion, one needs always to empathize with all patients, respect their faith, and remain professional, having a clear therapeutic plan in mind.
Cornelio, J., Gauthier, F., Martikainen, T., & Woodhead, L. (Eds.). (2021). Routledge international handbook of religion in a global society. Routledge.