Empirical research has identified spirituality as a positive coping mechanism for military veterans who have experienced trauma. In addition, research has also identified spirituality as an effective coping mechanism for individuals in substance use recovery.
What is spirituality and how can it help you?
- Spirituality is a personal experience with many definitions. Spirituality might be defined as “an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life, a sense of the sacredness of life, and a vision for the betterment of the world.” Other definitions emphasize “a connection to that which transcends the self.”
- 1 How does religion and spirituality impact a soldier with PTSD?
- 2 Does spirituality help with PTSD?
- 3 How does spirituality help in healing?
- 4 Does spirituality help mental health?
- 5 Is religious coping a real predictor of PTSD?
- 6 What is a spiritual injury?
- 7 How do you heal childhood trauma spiritually?
- 8 What do u mean by spirituality?
- 9 How do you heal from religious trauma?
- 10 What are the positive contributions of having a good spiritual connection to God?
- 11 How can I be spiritually healthy?
- 12 What are examples of spiritual health?
- 13 What are signs of spiritual distress?
- 14 How important is spirituality to your life now?
- 15 Why is spiritual health important?
- 16 Spirituality and Mental Well-Being in Combat Veterans: A Systematic Review
- 17 Similar articles
- 18 Cited by 8articles
- 19 VA.gov
- 20 Spiritual Healing
- 21 Spirituality
- 22 What spirituality-related issues should I keep an eye out for?
- 23 What can I do about spirituality issues?
- 24 Take the next step to connect with care.
- 25 Explore these resources for helping Veterans to address spiritual issues.
- 26 Is God punishing me? How psychologists can help veterans forgive themselves and heal
- 27 Overview
- 28 A quest for meaning
- 29 How to help
- 30 Chaplains as partners
- 31 More outreach needed
- 32 Spiritual and Pastoral Care in the Veterans Health Administration
- 33 Spiritual Wellness: The Importance of Hope, Connection and Purpose • Military OneSource
- 34 What does “spiritual wellness” mean?
- 35 Signs of spiritual distress
- 36 Tips for improving spiritual wellness
How does religion and spirituality impact a soldier with PTSD?
Spirituality had an effect on PTSD, suicide, depression, anger and aggression, anxiety, quality of life, and other mental well-being outcomes for veterans. Discussion: Addressing veterans’ spiritual well-being should be a routine and integrated component of veterans’ health, with regular assessment and treatment.
Does spirituality help with PTSD?
Aspects of spirituality are associated with positive outcomes, even when trauma survivors develop psychiatric difficulties such as PTSD or depression. Research also indicates that healthy spirituality is often associated with lower levels of symptoms and clinical problems in some trauma populations.
How does spirituality help in healing?
Some research shows a connection between your beliefs and your sense of well being. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better.
Does spirituality help mental health?
There are several ways that spirituality can support your mental health: You may feel a higher sense of purpose, peace, hope, and meaning. You may experience better confidence, self-esteem, and self-control. It can help you make sense of your experiences in life.
Is religious coping a real predictor of PTSD?
However, similar to other studies (e.g., Witvliet et al., 2004), Ogden and colleagues (2011) found that positive religious coping (religious comfort, prayers for acceptance, prayers for assistance, and prayers for calm and focus) was unrelated to PTSD symptoms.
What is a spiritual injury?
In short, a SI can be initially defined as an injury that occurs when personnel are involved in some way in an incident that causes them to question their belief or faith in the existence, purpose and benevolence of some form of higher being or entity.
How do you heal childhood trauma spiritually?
Healing your inner child can take time, but these eight tips are a good starting point.
- First, acknowledge your inner child.
- Listen to what your inner child has to say.
- Write a letter.
- Give meditation a try.
- Journal as your inner child.
- Bring back the joys of childhood.
- Leave the door open.
- Talk to a therapist.
What do u mean by spirituality?
Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.
How do you heal from religious trauma?
8 Ways to Recover from Religious Trauma
- Recognize That It Has Occurred.
- Separate Your Personal Values From Your Religious Beliefs.
- Get Connected to Healthy Supports & Community.
- Explore What You Believe & Why You Believe It.
- Create Healthy Boundaries in Relationships.
- Identify Your Hopes for the Future.
What are the positive contributions of having a good spiritual connection to God?
With God, he views our errors and mistakes as learning lessons. It is beneficial for us to view our setbacks and missteps in the same way. God extends great love and compassion toward our souls. We give ourselves the greatest gift of kindness and love when we extend the same courtesy toward ourselves and others.
How can I be spiritually healthy?
8 ways to boost your spiritual health
- Connect with your faith community. According to a Gallup study, 43% of Americans say they belong to a church or other religious body.
- Volunteer or help others.
- Practice yoga.
- Keep a journal.
- Spend time in nature.
- Focus on your hobbies.
- Speak with a chaplain or someone you trust.
What are examples of spiritual health?
Your journey to spiritual wellness may involve the following:
- Practicing meditation or yoga.
- Praying or taking part in organized religion.
- Spending quiet time alone pondering the meaning of life.
- Building awareness through journaling.
- Serving your community, spending time in nature, appreciating music and the arts.
What are signs of spiritual distress?
The signs and symptoms of spiritual distress include:
- Feelings of anger or hopelessness.
- Feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Feeling abandoned by God.
- Questioning the meaning of life or suffering.
- Questioning beliefs or sudden doubt in spiritual or religious beliefs.
- Asking why this situation occurred.
How important is spirituality to your life now?
Healthy spirituality gives a sense of peace, wholeness and balance among the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of our lives. However, for most people the path to such spirituality passes through struggles and suffering, and often includes experiences that are frightening and painful.
Why is spiritual health important?
Spiritual wellness acknowledges our search for deeper meaning in life. When we’re spiritually healthy, we feel more connected to not only a higher power, but to those around us. We have more clarity when it comes to making everyday choices, and our actions become more consistent with our beliefs and values.
Spirituality and Mental Well-Being in Combat Veterans: A Systematic Review
Background: A considerable number of veterans suffer from serious impairments in their spiritual and mental well-being. Despite the availability of effective and evidence-based therapies, veterans continue to have low completion rates and unsatisfactory therapeutic impacts on their rehabilitation. When it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), spirituality, whether expressed through religious or secular methods, is an important component of adjuvant or additional therapy modalities.
The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the association between spirituality and mental well-being among post-deployment veterans who had served in the military.
Gray literature was discovered in databases, webpages, and reference lists of papers that were included in the study.
Results: A total of 43 papers were selected from 6,555 abstracts.
Veterans’ PTSD, suicide, sadness, anger and aggressiveness, anxiety, quality of life, and other mental well-being outcomes were all positively influenced by their spirituality, according to the findings.
Veterans’ spiritual well-being should be addressed as a routine and integrated component of their overall health, with frequent examination and treatment.
Further high-quality research is required to identify the salient components of spirituality that are both damaging and beneficial to veterans’ mental well-being, as well as the incorporation of veterans’ viewpoints directly into the study process itself.
- Background: A considerable number of veterans suffer from serious impairments in their spiritual and mental health. Veterinarians continue to have low completion rates and inadequate therapy results despite the availability of effective and evidence-based treatment. Spirituality, whether expressed via religious or secular means, is a component of adjuvant or additional therapy methods for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is especially pertinent in the context of war trauma. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the association between spirituality and mental well-being in post-deployment veterans who had returned home from combat. Methods: From the start of the databases until March 2016, electronic databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, JSTOR) were searched. Databases, websites, and reference lists from included research were searched for gray literature. The Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool and the Critical Appraising Skill Programme Qualitative Checklist were used to evaluate the study’s overall quality and to identify areas that needed improvement. In all, 43 research were selected from 6,555 abstracts. There was a low-moderate level of quality in the study. Vets’ experiences with spirituality had an impact on their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide, sadness, rage and aggressiveness, anxiety, and other aspects of their mental health. While “negative spiritual coping” was frequently related with a rise in mental health diagnoses and symptom severity, “positive spiritual coping” was frequently connected with a decrease in mental health diagnoses and symptoms severity
- Veterans’ spiritual well-being should be addressed as a routine and integrated component of their health care, with frequent assessment and treatment. Discussion: An interdisciplinary strategy is required, which includes incorporating chaplains postcombat, in order to address these challenges and improve continuity of care. Further high-quality research is required to identify the salient components of spirituality that are both damaging and beneficial to veterans’ mental well-being, as well as to directly incorporate veterans’ viewpoints into the research. Association of Military Surgeons of the United States of America (2017) ReprintCopyright
Cited by 8articles
- Caring for Chiropractic Outpatient Veterans (COCOV): A qualitative research with veteran stakeholders from a pilot trial of multimodal chiropractic therapy was conducted as part of the COCOV project. Salsbury SA, Twist E, Wallace RB, Vining RD, Goertz CM, Long CR, Wallace RB, Vining RD, Goertz CM, Long CR. Salsbury, S.A., and colleagues Pilot Feasibility Study, published online January 14, 2022, page 6. doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00962-5.Pilot Feasibility Study 2022.PMID:35031072. doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00962-5 For a limited time only, you can read this free PMC paper, Spiritual Well-Being, Social Support, and Financial Distress in Determining Depression: The Mediating Role of Event Impact During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Iran. Sharif Nia H, Gorgulu O, Naghavi N, Robles-Bello MA, Sánchez-Teruel D, Khoshnavay Fomani F, She L, Rahmatpour P, Allen KA, Arslan G, Pahlevan Sharif S. Nia H, Gorgulu O, Naghavi N, Robles-Bello MA, Sánchez-Teruel D, Khoshnavay Fomani F, She L PMID: 34777060 Front Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 28
- 12:754831 doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.754831. eCollection 2021Front Psychiatry. 2021PMID: 34777060 Front Psychiatry. 2021PMID: 34777060 Posttraumatic growth among health-care personnel on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic is available as a free PMC article. Feingold JH, Hurtado A, Feder A, Peccoralo L, Southwick SM, Ripp J, Pietrzak RH, et al. Feingold JH, Hurtado A, Feder A, Peccoralo L, Southwick SM, Ripp J, Pietrzak RH, et al. Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 296:35-40, January 1, 2022. J Affect Disord. 2022.PMID:34587547. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.09.032. Published online September 16, 2021. Compromised Conscience: A Scoping Review of Moral Injury Among Firefighters, Paramedics, and Police Officers is a free PMC article available online. Lentz LM, Smith-MacDonald L, Malloy D, Carleton RN, Brémault-Phillips S.Lentz LM, Smith-MacDonald L, Malloy D, Carleton RN, Brémault-Phillips S.Lentz LM, et al. Front Psychol. 2021 Mar 31
- 12:639781. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.639781. eCollection 2021.PMID:33868111.Front Psychol. 2021. PMC article that is completely free. Assessing the Effects of Childhood Multitype Maltreatment on Adult Spirituality: A Review of the Literature Prior MK, Petra M.Prior MK, et al. Prior MK, et al. J Child Adolesc Trauma. 2019 Oct 14
- 13(4):469-480. J Child Adolesc Trauma This article is available online at doi: 10.1007/s40653-019-00288-8 J Child Adolesc Trauma (December 2020). 2019.PMID: 33269046 PMC article is provided for free.
A researcher affiliated with the Augusta Veterans Affairs Medical Center is investigating the possible impact that spirituality could have in the treatment of Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. on the 21st of March, 2017. What, if any, role does spirituality play in assisting Veterans in coping with the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? The Department of Veterans Affairs would like to know. Souls that have been wounded “Young people go into combat and witness their friends being killed,” said Dr.
- “Young people go into combat and witness their friends being killed.” “It is possible that they will have to murder opposing combatants.
- This can have a significant negative impact on them.
- It’s referred to as “moral harm.” Youssef and many colleagues recently released a study in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease that touched on the complicated issue of moral harm.
- The authors point out that many veterans have firmly held spiritual or religious views, which might make them more vulnerable to moral damage in the future.
- “We frequently prescribe medicine to our Veterans and Service Members in order to assist them cope with symptoms such as flashbacks or nightmares.
- These are beneficial to a significant number of patients.
- According to the 44-year-old researcher, around half of Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a favorable reaction to normal therapy, while the other half have mixed results.
“There are a handful of individuals who just quit attending treatment.” Those who have experienced spiritual wounds and inner turmoil have said that it has failed to treat their issues.
As a result, they withdraw.” Dr.
Youssef Youssef is curious if introducing a spiritual component into trauma-based therapy — for those patients who are interested in such an approach — would help to retain more Veterans coming into the facility for treatment.
“So far, we’ve conducted roughly 40 interviews with Veterans,” he explained.
Strokes that differ from one another The psychiatrist stated that, if the bigger research were to progress, it would encompass components of each patient’s religion or spiritual beliefs, with a special emphasis on love and forgiveness as central themes.
As a result, the therapy we give must take this into consideration.
As he explained, “Some Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) honestly feel that God, or whatever they perceive to be their greater authority, would never forgive them for what they’ve done.” “I seriously doubt that traditional treatment or medicine would ever be able to completely alleviate these emotions of shame and guilt.” We need to provide these patients with proof — whether it’s from the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or whatever religion they practice — that they may be forgiven and that there is always a second chance.” There are many Veterans who have firmly held spiritual or religious views, which may enhance their susceptibility to suffering from moral harm.
“We are hopeful that this method will prove to be tremendously motivational for the Veterans who participate in our study,” he concluded.
“The most important thing is to show up for therapy.” The inclusion of a spiritual component into treatment, Youssef noted, is not intended to be a substitute for traditional treatments, but rather a supplement for those Veterans who may find it useful.
on a different dimension.” Visit the VA National Center for PTSD Website at www.ptsd.va.gov to learn more about how the VA is assisting Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Warriors who returned home from combat practiced highly particular rituals of healing and purification of the spirit in ancient times. Fighting in battle takes a toll on the spirit, and our forefathers were wise enough to recognize this. Many think that we have lost sight of this understanding and that, in order to participate in genuine healing, it is necessary to address all components of the warrior, including body, mind, and spirit. The following are some books that may be of interest on this subject: The book At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace, written by Claude Ashin Thomas and published by Shambhala Press in 2006, is about a soldier’s journey from war to peace.
- in 2005.
- Through the provision of personalized ministry activities and Scripture materials, ASM seeks to assist our nation’s military personnel in meeting their important spiritual requirements.
- It is the overall “12-step” framework of PTSD Anonymous that is based on the success of other established support groups around the country.
- Survivors of military trauma may have severe conflict with their faith and former relationships with a God or Higher Power as a result of their military trauma.
- The Reboot Recovery Spiritual Program was created to address the spiritual components of battle trauma that are often disregarded.
- Authors Edward Tick, Ph.D.
- Soldier’s Heart is a book written by Edward Tick, Ph.D.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be effectively treated and managed via the development of a new and dignified warrior identity that is supported by a supportive community.
- Neither VFU nor the resources mentioned on this website may be held liable for any results or consequences that may be obtained from using them.
It is possible to define spirituality as your own connection with meaning and purpose in life that is made possible by something higher than yourself. This may involve faith in some form of higher authority or loyalty to a set of firmly held personal beliefs, among other things. Spirituality is frequently expressed through the lens of a specific religion or faith — yet many individuals consider themselves spiritual even if they do not have a formal religious affiliation. A number of Veterans may feel that their life experiences have helped to deepen their spirituality or religious beliefs.
Many religious people are anxious about losing their trust in what they feel they are practicing.
If you don’t, you may find yourself struggling with questions about what is meaningful and important in life. “I was thinking to myself, ‘Why me?’ What were you thinking when you let me live? “Can you tell me whether this is the plan, because I don’t like it.” You might be wondering:
- Exactly what death and suffering imply in the grand scheme of things
- If the things you saw or experienced had any significance or purpose, please explain. If you have become a horrible person as a result of your activities, Identifying the reasons why horrible things have happened to you or to people you care about
- Why you were able to live when others were not
When someone has had a severe or traumatic event, such as military warfare, natural catastrophes, or an accident, it is normal for them to ask questions like these. Thinking about what they believe and why they believe it is an important element of many people’s process of making sense of painful events. Embedded video from YouTube: Show me videos of veterans who served during the following periods:
When confronted with these kinds of issues, many people feel that the process ultimately results in a sense of progress or resolve. Some people, however, report that their experiences have left them with a persistent sense of spiritual harm or pain that has gone unresolved. As time has passed, it has become increasingly obvious how spiritual difficulties link to physical health. When it comes to spiritual challenges, individuals and caregivers should be on the lookout for the following:
- Loss of trust
- Difficulty forgiving others or oneself
- Difficulty forgiving oneself Being abandoned or chastised by God, as well as feeling angry with him Whether it’s guilt or shame, Grief and bereavement
- It is difficult to reconcile firmly held principles with one’s life experiences.
In the event that you are facing these kind of spiritual difficulties, you may not feel like your former self. For example, you may find yourself no longer participating in activities that you formerly enjoyed, or you may have withdrawn yourself from others, even members of your religious or spiritual group. It’s possible that you’re dealing with marital concerns, feelings of despair or anxiety, or other issues besides spiritual issues or a crisis of faith if you’ve been struggling with them for a long time.
What can I do about spirituality issues?
Gaining understanding of what occurred might help you regain your sense of purpose and meaning in life. Make an effort to set aside some time to:
- Discuss your concerns and opinions with a trusted friend or family member. Time should be spent thinking about, expressing, and making meaning of the event, whether by talking or writing or through other methods such as painting, music, or other artistic expression
- Pray for better connection and concentrate on what is essential to you by engaging in your spirituality or relevant religious traditions
- Share your ideas, feelings, and questions with counselors or chaplains
- They may assist you in examining your beliefs and determining the purpose of your existence.
Speaking with close friends and family members about your thoughts and feelings may be beneficial, and it allows your friends and family to offer support. Some people prefer to speak with someone else who they believe will understand their problems, such as a spiritual or religious adviser or educator, while others prefer to speak with someone who they believe will understand their issues.
Take the next step to connect with care.
Veterans from all armed service branches and eras interact with proven resources and effective therapies on a daily basis, according to the VA. Take the next step in the direction that is most appropriate for you by following these instructions. Check out the most recent coronavirus information from the VA. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, please phone ahead of time before visiting your local medical center or clinic for treatment. If you have an appointment, you might want to consider making it a telehealth one.
Fill out an application for health-care benefits.
- Veterans of all armed service branches and eras interact with proven resources and effective therapies on a daily basis, according to the VA. Take the next step in the correct direction by following these steps. Check out the most recent coronavirus information from the VA’s Health Information Center. You should call before going to your local medical center or clinic if you have flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. You should consider scheduling a telemedicine appointment if you have one scheduled. Is this your first time in the Commonwealth of Virginia? In order to be eligible for health insurance, you must apply.
Already enrolled in the VA and looking for mental health support? Look no further. Make an appointment with a mental health professional.
- The quickest approach to plan VA appointments is to call the VA institution where you want treatment
- If you’re currently enrolled and utilizing VA health services, calling the VA facility where you want care is the fastest way to arrange VA appointments. You may book some VA health care appointments online, examine details about future appointments, and arrange your health care calendar using the VA Appointments features. If you are not already utilizing VA medical care, contact your local VA medical center or Vet Center to discuss your requirements.
What are the other alternatives available at the VA? The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a number of tools and resources.
- What are the other alternatives available to you at the Veterans Affairs Medical Facility? Several tools and resources are available from the VA.
What about help outside of the VA?
There is a whole community of people that are willing to provide a hand with whatever you are going through. Make use of this tool to locate resources in your area.
Explore these resources for helping Veterans to address spiritual issues.
We have been engaged in the battle on terrorism for 17 years. Hundreds of thousands of our American brothers and sisters have perished as a result of the horrors of war throughout that period. A great number of people are in serious need of spiritual healing. Their anguish is palpable. It is too frequently deadly in its consequences. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, around 20 veterans commit suicide on a daily basis on average. Veterans’ advocate Richard Glickstein points out that the federal government has established 1,100 suicide-prevention programs for our servicemen and women over the past 15 years, according to Glickstein.
- The latest filmSurrender Only to Onedepicts the hardships of battle and how they might impact the mind, body, and soul of those who are engaged in it.
- All of us, though, can at least understand the anxiety that comes with knowing that every single decision you make — or don’t make — has the potential to kill or maim a comrade.
- PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, may be just as lethal as an improvised explosive device and more difficult to control than the pandemonium of a back-alley ambush, according to the American Psychological Association.
- Friedman, on the other hand, is determined to do something about it.
As a result of his appointment, he has a single goal: “to deliver the hope that our men and women who have gone into war, who have protected our nation, need, to give them the optimism that they deserve.” While the government has attempted to assist persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Glickstein asserts that “the fact is that everything we’ve done so far is not helping.” Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to current VA recommendations includes both trauma-focused care that is tailored to the individual serviceman’s experience and antidepressants, which are a staple of mental health treatment.
- There is compelling evidence that, when implemented appropriately, these treatments can be effective.
- According to one research, just one-third of veterans with a new diagnosis of PTSD received therapy via the VA, and less than ten percent of those veterans received adequate treatment in accordance with VA standards.
- This is the issue Friedman raises: “If we actually care about providing a solution for our men and women, are we offering every feasible option?” SOF Missions’ board of directors member Dr.
- Participants in a panel discussion held on Nov.
- Friedman talked about his own fight with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and gloom.
- Attending religious services on a regular basis is related with a considerable reduction in the incidence of suicide.
- In this endeavor, he has discovered that prayer and spirituality have proven to be important aids.
- There is no desire among these gentlemen to compel troops to attend religious services or to participate in an obligatory spiritual fitness program.
Military commanders and VA healthcare practitioners should not be required to conceal the spiritual aspects of recovery in unofficial advisory, or, as Friedman puts it, to “find a secluded place merely to find hope.” Servicemen and women should be made aware of what groups like as SOF Missions have discovered firsthand: that redemption is possible through a force bigger than ourselves, a power that can reach down into the most shattered of hearts.
Kevin Pham, M.D., is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan and a past visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
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Do you have an opinion on this matter? Send a letter to the editor, and you may find yourself on the cover of a magazine.
Is God punishing me? How psychologists can help veterans forgive themselves and heal
“CE Corner” is a continuing education article provided by the American Psychological Association’s Office of Continuing Education in Psychology. After reading this material, you should purchase the online test to gain continuing education credits. You will be able to print your CE certificate as soon as you have completed the test with a passing score of 75 percent or above. Fees are $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers to take the test. The program continues to be overseen by the American Psychological Association’s Office of Continuing Education in Psychology.
1 continuing education credit The following are the learning objectives: CE candidates will be able to do the following after reading this article:
- Discuss the relationship between guilt, spirituality, and the risk of suicide among veterans. Discuss the types of therapies, such as short cognitive-behavioral therapy, that may be used to assist these individuals. Discuss other solutions that may be available to these clients.
In his capacity as an active-duty psychologist stationed in Iraq, Craig Bryan, PsyD, was treating a Vietnam veteran in his 60s who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PTSD). He had avoided intimacy with his family for years and felt more at ease in combat zones, which led him to look for work as a government contractor in the Middle East, where he eventually found it. He had been oppressed by a profound sense of guilt after witnessing atrocities in Vietnam for decades, and he had had suicidal thoughts during that time.
- Innocent civilians who were difficult to differentiate from fighters have been slain by American forces.
- Given that Bryan was aware that the veteran was grappling with spiritual problems, he inquired as to what God would think about his decision.
- After a while, Bryan was able to assist the soldier in forgiving himself, and his PTSD symptoms subsided.
- When his contract in Iraq came to a close, he made the decision to return home to his family.
- Department of Veterans Affairs in Canandaigua, New York, says that military service “really pushes spiritual issues to the forefront.” “Veterans must reconcile their personal experiences with their beliefs about God, life, and how to live a meaningful life.
- Approximately 20 veterans died by suicide every day in 2014, according to new data from a VA study that examined more than 55 million veteran records.
As William Gibson, PhD, a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Canandaigua, puts it, “Any kind of trauma increases the risk of a variety of things, such as substance abuse, bad relationships, health problems, and suicide.” “Unfortunately, the spiritual issues that underpin veteran struggles are frequently left unaddressed because psychologists are not well-trained in how to deal with this type of situation.
The majority of people have taken a diversity course in which religion and spirituality were only briefly discussed, and that’s about it.”
A quest for meaning
As in the case of the Vietnam veteran, the spiritual conflict began after he suffered from what is described as “moral harm,” which is grief caused by experiencing things that were incompatible with his sense of what was good and wrong. Persons who have suffered from moral damage frequently experience feelings of guilt or shame, and a recent study headed by Bryan found that guilt was a greater predictor of suicide ideation than depression in people who will act on their thoughts (Depression and Anxiety, 2013).
When Joseph Currier, PhD, of the University of South Alabama surveyed 250 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, he discovered that roughly one in every three to four of them reported moderate to severe struggles with spirituality in some form—including those who were not affiliated with a religious organization.
- Religious inquiries included a wide range of topics, including one’s connection with God, demonic or supernatural evil, uncertainty about one’s beliefs, and interpersonal conflicts with other religious people.
- According to preliminary findings from this continuing investigation, personal meaning difficulties were the most significant predictor of the likelihood of engaging in suicide conduct.
- The new generation of returning soldiers, he argues, may be particularly affected by the difficulties in finding purpose.
- The spiritual well-being of the patient may also play a role in determining whether or not the treatment is beneficial.
- The likelihood of benefiting from treatment was lower for those who were struggling spiritually, such as those who believed their mental health concerns were a punishment from God (Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2015).
“These findings highlight the need of doctors doing a thorough assessment for spiritual problems,” Currier adds. “We need to prepare psychology students to deal with spirituality in the same manner that we train them to deal with disability, race, and age disparities,” says the author.
How to help
Despite the fact that a spiritual examination is not yet standard practice, Gibson recommends psychologists to begin by asking a few easy questions to introduce the subject. He inquires as to whether or not the patient was reared in a specific religious tradition and whether or not they continue to practice that tradition. If they don’t identify with a particular tradition, do they engage in any other spiritual activity, such as meditation? Lastly and maybe most importantly, how does their present practice seem to them, and is it comfortable while they battle with whatever it is that is bringing them pain?
- According to the researchers, it is an alternative to the “Brief RCOPE,” a 14-item measure of religious coping with significant life stresses that was developed by Dr.
- Pargament collaborated with Exline on the development of the new tool.
- According to our findings, many people experience difficulties with religion and spirituality that are not directly related to conflicts with God, and we wanted to assess this as well.
- When psychological assessments indicate that patients are experiencing spiritual difficulties, Exline encourages psychologists to regard these challenges as opportunities for patient growth rather than as a problem to be solved.
- It is possible that they will have to go through challenges in order to discover what they think about God or religion, or that their ideas on God or religion will change.
- For individuals who are experiencing spiritual issues connected to guilt, shame, and suicide ideation, Bryan has discovered that short cognitive-behavioral treatment can be quite useful.
- This entails educating patients on the possibility that their wish to kill oneself is a coping mechanism to avoid difficult feelings rather than a desire not to live, rather than the opposite.
- The following phase of therapy is devoted to the development of their belief systems.
- This might lead people to assume that their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are punishment from God for their crimes.
The prospect that they may have done everything correctly is introduced by Bryan. “But horrible things sometimes happen to good people,” Bryan explains. “I assist them in realizing that just because they are going through a difficult time does not imply that they are a terrible person.”
Chaplains as partners
However, while some veterans may feel more comfortable discussing their spiritual struggles with a psychologist, according to Jason Nieuwsma, PhD, associate director of the Veterans Affairs Mental Health and Chaplaincy program in Durham, North Carolina, others prefer to talk about their spiritual struggles with a chaplain or other spiritual leader. To this end, he advises psychologists to become acquainted with the chaplaincy services available in their facilities and to establish a collaborative working relationship with these providers.
The primary cause for this was a lack of understanding of the services that were provided, rather than mutual dislike (Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2014).
Examples include principles from acceptance and commitment therapy, which people may apply to their own lives.
More outreach needed
Psychologists who are interested in learning more about how to assist patients in navigating spirituality should join the American Psychological Association’s Division 36. (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality). An annual spring conference is held by the division each year, and the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality is published. According to Bryan, competence in dealing with veteran spiritual issues is vital not just for psychologists working inside the VA system.
- According to Bryan, “we have a tendency to place the responsibility for veteran health care on the VA’s shoulders,” but this is a cop-out.
- Among the veterans he recalls is a young man in his early 40s who had joined the Army National Guard in order to augment his salary as a youth pastor at an evangelical church.
- He couldn’t sit down to dinner with his wife and children, and he occasionally bathed with a rifle to make himself feel more secure in his home.
- It was one night in Iraq that he would never forget, when he gave orders to troops to shoot at a car that was ignoring their attempts to swerve it around the corner.
- One small kid had made it out alive.” In particular, one of his ingrained beliefs that made it difficult for him to participate in therapy was that God was the one God who knew the truth in all things “Currier expresses himself.
- It was during this dialogue that the patient realized that he had done all in his power to help the Iraqi family.
- Once the veteran felt protected spiritually, he was a conscientious client who followed through with the entire prolonged exposure program.
- The veteran has resumed eating meals with his family and is ready to seek a career as a youth pastor once more, according to his wife.
Furthermore, with 21 million veterans living in the United States, there is a big chance to begin practicing medicine.
Spiritual and Pastoral Care in the Veterans Health Administration
VA medical centers, clinics, domiciliary care, and other VA institutions must offer spiritual and pastoral care to Veterans as an integral element of their overall health-care delivery system. Veterans’ spiritual and pastoral care must be tailored to meet their specific needs and goals, as well as their willingness to participate in the process. Ensure that patients’ health care requirements are satisfied is the responsibility of Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Directors as well as institution directors.
- Ensures that every patient’s fundamental right to freedom of religion is respected
- This program offers chances for religious worship, sacramental ministry, pastoral care, and counseling. While in VHA facilities, all Veterans are protected against proselytization (the imposition of religious views or practices) from any source.
Each Veteran’s spiritual and pastoral care needs and wishes, or lack thereof, must be assessed as part of a comprehensive review of the individual’s health-care requirements. Once it is determined that a more in-depth spiritual examination is required, a clinical chaplain is the subject matter expert who is allowed to perform the spiritual assessment as well as offer appropriate spiritual and pastoral care as requested by the patient. Chaplains work in collaboration with other health-care professionals to provide holistic care across a wide range of treatments and services that are tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences, including but not limited to:
- In order to provide comprehensive health care, it is necessary to assess each Veteran’s spiritual and pastoral care requirements and wishes, as well as his or her willingness to receive such care. Whenever an in-depth spiritual examination is required, a clinical chaplain is the subject matter expert who is permitted to conduct the spiritual assessment and give appropriate spiritual and pastoral care to the patient, if that is what the patient desires. Chaplains work in collaboration with other health-care professionals to provide holistic care across a wide range of treatments and services that are tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences, such as the following:
Policy The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) believes that spiritual and pastoral care should be included within the full health care package accessible to Veterans. It is against VHA policy to proselytize, and it does not promote, favor, or prefer any particular religion or faith group. It also does not promote, favor, or prefer religion over non-religious beliefs. Responsibilities of the VA Chaplaincy Staff Hospital administrators or their designees are in charge of ensuring that the following conditions are met:
- As part of VHA health care, spiritual and pastoral care is offered in accordance with the requirements, preferences, and free permission of the Veteran patient. The Veterans Health Administration provides opportunities for religious worship in appropriate settings, according to the requirements and wishes of the veterans residing in the facility. Chaplains are employed as the designated subject matter experts for spiritual and pastoral care
- Chaplains are included as members of the professional interdisciplinary teams available to provide holistic care to Veteran patients
The Director of the Chaplain Service is responsible for the following:
- The development of policy pertaining to the provision of spiritual and pastoral care
- The Chief Patient Care Services Officer and field officials are to get advice from the Spiritual and Pastoral Care Coordinator on policies and procedures for providing spiritual and pastoral care. • Ensuring that suitable training and professional development opportunities are available to VHA chaplains and other health-care practitioners in the area of spiritual and pastoral care. ensuring that the efficiency of spiritual and pastoral care in VHA institutions is evaluated on an ongoing basis through site visits and other ways
- To recruit and evaluate qualified applicants for VA Chaplaincies in order to maintain a diverse and high-quality staff. Assisting VHA in developing and supporting spiritual and pastoral therapeutic relationships that contribute to the accomplishment of the organization’s mission by establishing and maintaining liaisons with religious organizations, professional organizations, and the Department of Defense, among other stakeholders
Definitions Spiritual and Pastoral Care–VHA spiritual and pastoral care is a comprehensive program of evaluation and care that is administered and monitored by chaplains and that employs a wide range of interventions, which include but are not restricted to:
- Determine the religious and spiritual needs and desires of the patients
- Identify and address spiritual injuries. Improve the spiritual well-being of the sufferer
Patient – A patient is a person who is qualified to receive care from the Veterans Health Administration. The term “VA chaplain” refers to a person who meets the qualifications outlined in VA Handbook 5005, Part II, appendix F1, and who offers spiritual, pastoral, and counseling services in the VA. An individual who satisfies all VA qualifying standards for Chaplain and whose spiritual and pastoral care and counseling is defined by the following characteristics is considered a clinical chaplain:
- Assessment, evaluation, and treatment of patients that is comprehensive in nature
- A high degree of integration into the overall care and treatment program of a health-care facility’s patient population Working ties with staff members from different professional health care fields are strong.
Religious practices include all forms of worship, sacrament, ceremonies, prayer, meditation, customary observances, and other rituals by which people carry out their religious beliefs or preserve or develop their relationship with the religious object of their devotion. Clothing or jewelry with religious significance, dietary traditions, as well as transporting or displaying religious items, symbols, photographs, or text are all examples of what is meant by religious significance. Spiritual– The term “spiritual” refers to anything that has anything to do with the “Spirit of Life.” Spirituality can be used in a broad sense to refer to anything that offers meaning and purpose to one’s life, or it can be used more narrowly to refer to the practice of a particular philosophy, religion, or way of life.
The English terms “inspire,” which means to take a deep breath in, and “expire,” which means to exhale, both derive from the same Latin origin.
“Pastoral” is an adjective that comes from the image of a shepherd and is used to describe a relationship characterized by expressions of compassionate care, such as spiritual counseling and guidance, consolation and encouragement, empathetic listening, and other forms of empathetic listening and encouragement.
Pastoral care is defined in the VA as care delivered by a chaplain who has received professional training and has been approved by a specific faith tradition to offer such care.
It emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of human experience.
Spiritual Wellness: The Importance of Hope, Connection and Purpose • Military OneSource
It is possible to exhibit spirituality in a variety of ways, whether via religious affiliations, moral philosophy, or an intrinsic sense of oneness with something more than oneself. Spirituality, in whatever shape it takes, is always personal. The importance of spiritual wellbeing is sometimes overlooked as being less significant than emotional, physical, or social wellness. However, a sense of hope and belonging – a sense of purpose – is essential to the overall wellness of every duty member in the National Guard.
What does “spiritual wellness” mean?
- Making time to reflect on your life’s purpose and cultivating a stronger awareness of your effect on the rest of the world are two important aspects of spiritual wellness: The act of contemplating your life’s purpose may help you get more in touch with your capacity for creation and change, as well as the ability to spread positive qualities across the globe — such as love, compassion, and peace. Connecting with a higher cause helps military men involved in the defense of our nation’s security to maintain their morale and foster teamwork among themselves. It is vital to develop greater awareness in order to better understand your place in the world as a member of a global community. Every individual has meaning and relevance to others around them, including family members, friends, classmates, and those in your immediate neighborhood and beyond. No man is an island, which implies that every individual has significance and importance to those around them. Individuals that are spiritually healthy are aware of their inherent connection to others both inside and outside their area of influence. Achieving harmony with one’s environment and striking a balance between one’s own needs and the needs of others is what spiritual wellbeing is all about: In order to establish harmony with one’s surroundings, one’s actions and intentions must be in accordance with the environment and serve the interests of all those who live in the area. Consideration of the consequences of your actions on the rest of the world can help you broaden your viewpoint and inspire acts of kindness, compassion, tolerance, and generosity in others. Maintaining a good balance between one’s own wants and the needs of others is an important aspect of maintaining strong relationships. In order to avoid behaving just in their own self-interest or exhausting themselves for the benefit of others, spiritually healthy persons examine the needs of others in connection to their own needs. In other words, they are able to transcend their own interests and act in the best interests of everybody. The ability to have personal values and beliefs while also acting compassionately in accordance with those principles is referred to as spiritual wellbeing. Personal values and beliefs can vary during the course of a person’s life, taking shape as a result of the influence of relationships, events, and personal experiences. Someone who is spiritually healthy will take care to observe when their values move, when to modify them, and when to re-assert their significance. Compassionate action is the outward manifestation of a spiritual aim or desire. Prayer, efforts to find understanding in the face of disagreement, mentoring a peer, expressing love and affection, and other activities that promote mutual respect and foster togetherness are all examples of compassionate action.
Signs of spiritual distress
- Making time to reflect on your life’s purpose and developing a deeper awareness of your effect on the rest of the world are two important aspects of spiritual wellness. Making a conscious effort to consider your life’s purpose can help you become more aware of your ability to create, influence change, and spread positive qualities across the globe — such as love, compassion and peace. Connecting with a bigger cause while serving in the defense of our country helps to boost morale and promote solidarity among military members. It is vital to develop greater awareness in order to better understand your place in the world as a member of a worldwide community. Every individual has meaning and relevance to others around them, including family members, friends, classmates, and those in your immediate neighborhood and beyond. No man is an island, which implies that every person has significance and importance to those around them. When individuals are spiritually healthy, they are aware of their implicit connections to others, both within and outside their sphere of influence. Achieving harmony with one’s environment and striking a balance between one’s own needs and the needs of others is what spiritual wellbeing is all about. In order to establish harmony with one’s surroundings, one’s actions and intentions must be in accordance with the environment and serve the interests of all those who live in or visit that environment. Consideration of the consequences of your activities on the rest of the world can help you broaden your perspective and inspire acts of kindness, compassion, tolerance, and charity in your community and beyond. Maintaining a good balance between one’s own wants and the needs of others is an important aspect of building and maintaining successful interpersonal connections. In order to avoid behaving just in their own self-interest or exhausting themselves for the benefit of others, spiritually healthy persons weigh the needs of others in proportion to their own needs. In other words, they are able to transcend their own interests and act in the best interests of everyone. In order to be spiritually healthy, one must have personal values and beliefs and behave compassionately in accordance with those principles: Personal values and beliefs can shift during the course of a person’s life, taking shape as a result of the influence of relationships, events, and personal experiences. Someone who is spiritually healthy will take care to observe when their values move, when to modify them, and when to re-establish their significance. Companionable behavior is the outward manifestation of a spiritual desire. Among the examples of compassionate action include prayer, efforts to find understanding in the middle of a quarrel, mentoring a peer, expressing love and affection, and other activities that promote mutual respect and foster togetherness.
Tips for improving spiritual wellness
- Make some “quiet time” for yourself. Even after a hard day’s work, it’s easy to feel weighed down, especially for service members who are dealing with pressures such as deployment or juggling the demands of military and civilian life. Add quiet time to your day to replenish your inner batteries, where you may observe the present moment, pray or read something inspiring
- Say something. Make time for yourself to recharge your inner battery. Preferably in front of a group of people. Many religions believe that by speaking aloud the world you want to manifest, you can mold it into the shape you want. The recitation of affirmations is based on the same concept as it is in psychology. Prayer, chanting, ritual, and singing, among other audible means of expression, are used by various religions to reach this goal of inner peace. No matter what you think, declaring your objectives aloud has the potential to alter your ideas and eventually alter your life
- Inquire about the key issues. “Can you tell me what I’m doing here?” “Can you tell me what it all means?” The search for deeper truth begins with large questions, and you are not only permitted to ask them, but you are also permitted to provide answers. Find out what you believe in by contemplating the meaning of life and pursuing your higher purpose. Doing so teaches you the value of the present moment and opens your eyes to the unlimited possibilities that lay ahead for your life. Discovering what is essential to you is the first step in establishing a set of values for yourself. Is it necessary to be tolerant? Is it vital to stand up for people who are unable to stand for themselves? Is love the most essential thing in the world? Making a list of your values provides you with a framework for living your life by – and it’s crucial to review them on a regular basis to see if they’ve changed
- Maintain your integrity. It is possible to get significant rewards by living genuinely. When you acknowledge your genuine self, you are more resilient in the face of hardship, a better leader to your peers, and you have the additional benefit of having a clean conscience. The best part is that your self-assurance will spread to your circle of acquaintances.