Thursday, April 05, 2012

Moore describes soulful approach to healthcare

On Thursday 12 April 2012, Thomas Moore is the keynote speaker at the Medicine and Spirituality Conference hosted by Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University in Dayton Ohio. Moore describes his work in healthcare for a separate site, The Conference: Who's Who Doing What, under the headline "Care of the Soul in Medicine", updated 11 September 2011. This site promotes people actively engaged in sharing their work in medical fields. Moore writes:
"There is a clear movement in many countries today toward expanding our view of medical care. Integrative medicine, alternative therapies and the spirituality of medicine are becoming common themes in hospitals and schools. I have seen firsthand how pastoral care and counseling have grown and changed in medical settings.
[. . .]
But my work moves in a somewhat different direction. While spirituality concerns itself with meaning in life, prayer, meditation, belief and ideas about the afterlife, soul is almost identical with psyche, having to do with the deep emotions, relationships, work, home, family, memory, beauty, attachments, symbol and dream. I follow an ancient tradition, often referred to as Platonist, that considers these issues of great importance to the health and well-being of persons. In an age of “whole person” medicine, I want to speak for the deep soul. For example, while most hospitals today try to give a patient’s family consideration in such things as visiting hours and treatment discussion, they don’t go far enough, in my view, in thinking of the family as an integral part of illness and treatment. I go so far as to say that a person’s family is part of his or her identity and plays a central role in illness and healing."
In this summary of his approach Moore includes, "With the soul in mind, I think the Buddhist ideal is a good foundation: heal first with your presence. If you are present, if only momentarily with a patient or family, and not thinking about the many other things on your schedule, you will probably know what to say. 'Mindfulness' is a key word these days. It applies to being with patients. Remember that he or she is a human being with deep and tender feelings, no matter how soft or gruff the patient may appear on the surface. In fact, a strong surface usually suggests and tender subsurface."