“The Chaplain Gets No Respect”


TIPS AND TOPICS FROM DR. DAVID MEE-LEE

The article provided by Drome-Lee in his April’s Tips and Topics addresses the importance of spirituality in treatment.


By assessing if and when spirituality has been meaningful for the individual in any or all of the assessment dimensions, strengths, skills, and resources can be identified to be incorporated into the service plan.” (The 2013 ASAM Criteria, Page 54)

Dr. Mee-Lee explored the topic of spirituality with staff from Caron, an addiction center from Pennsylvania and learned 3 tips from their way of addressing spirituality in treatment.


TIP 1

Spirituality may or may not play a role in how we think about placement and ongoing care – but it can and should!

All people are spiritual and address these needs in individual ways. Spirituality appears in many forms including clients who bring mindfulness or counseling for grief into treatment. As such, there is no single correct way to address spirituality in recovery. It is important to understand each client’s unique spiritual beliefs and traditions and incorporate them into their recovery process.


TIP 2

How spiritual care providers interface with the rest of the treatment team

Caron clients are assigned a spiritual counselor, usually within the first week of treatment. The first interview is summarized, becomes a part of the medical record and is used often by the treatment team members. This creates collaboration between the team and the individual that includes their spirituality as a part of their unique treatment goals.


TIP 3

The Importance of Story

If you have ever been to a 12-step meeting, you will witness the significant role of story. It reminds one of the practice in native cultures of passing truth and life lessons through story. Often, these stories reflect a hero who goes through hell and comes out the other side as the person that stands before the group. The use of Connectedness, “the fundamental aspect of spirituality is central to every phase of the journey.” “Saying yes, making alliances, facing trials, learning lessons: the ways in which the spiritual counselor helps the patient and family tell the story of their experience, hopes and challenges.”

Not surprisingly, Caron’s satisfaction surveys reveal the huge value their clients see in the universal inclusion of spirituality in their treatment.

Often those around us, support staff, administration, fellow clients, family and supports provide a spiritual component that is not easy to see; pay attention.


The Change Companies, Dr. David Mee-Lee’s Tips and Topics: April 2017.