Rev Abel leads an integrated spiritual care team for Caron Treatment Centers and speaks for Caron on spirituality in addiction and other behavioural health care. He is an ordained minister in good standing in the United Church of Christ and a summa cum laude graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. A separate engagement with spiritual background, sources of authority, and methods or “spiritual practice” is a luxury few treatment providers can a ord. When present, it is often partial, adjunct, or secondary. But, human beings are shaped by their cultural and communal experiences, including story and heritage. How does one assess the relevance of cultural/religion/spirituality? How does one identify sources of spiritual authority for a client or family system? What are the categories and varieties of spiritual practice that are most helpful and readily integrated in addiction care, and how can they be adapted to t particular context and needs? This session will explore each of these questions and more.
REV JACK ABEL AND REV EYGLO BJARNADOTTIR - SPIRITUAL CULTURE, WISDOM AND PRACTICE: INCORPORATING THE SACRED INTO CONTEMPORARY MODELS OF TREATMENT
SPIRITUAL CARE ADDICTION TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS
Rev. Eyglo Bjarnadottir, Hazelden-Betty Ford
Rev. Jack Abel, Caron Treatment Centers
HOW IS THE SACRED UNDERSTOOD AND
EXPERIENCED BY THIS PATIENT, FAMILY, OR
DSM 5 proposes a “Cultural Formulation Interview”
for research because our cultural and religious
formation and context affect patient’s thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors in powerful ways.
1. What were your religious and cultural formation
2. Are there spiritual high points or wounds?
3. Do you think your cultural or religious formation
and background are important as you begin or
continue your recovery journey? If so, how?
PAST: FORMATION AND
FLESHING OUT THE
• Just the label is not enough …
• Familiarity with specific aspects of
their tradition(s) is not necessary.
• Clinical curiosity is the key!
TURNING TO THE PRESENT
What is your current level of participation in
any spiritual practice or religious or cultural
What are examples of experiences that you
think of as spiritually meaningful?
How do learning styles, vocation, and current
practice indicate personal preferences or
INTERVIEWING: attend to verbal and non-verbal cues
• I attend Mass regularly.
• I love the beach.
• I am a vegan.
• I don’t do alone well.
• Meditation is hard for me.
• I don’t believe in God.
• I trained as an artist.
• I am a care provider to others.
• When I’m having a hard day, I like to
listen to music – heavy metal,
• I am science-based …
a central issue for many
• Multiple types of losses and severity
• Guilt, self-blame, resentment are common emotional
• “What-if?” and powerlessness are frequent themes
Grief and Trauma are related paradigms …
As a clinician, ask yourself if you have a
sense of the “Then” and “Now” for this
patient in regards to:
• Spiritual Preferences
• Religious and Cultural Context
• High points or areas of spiritual or
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WHAT ARE THIS CLIENT’S SOURCES FOR
WISDOM AND HOW IS POWER AND
UNWISE AUTHORITIES –
these undermine or replace
• Addiction as misconnection
• “Mammon” … wealth, power,
• False and coercive manipulation
• Cult abuse
BELONGING AND COMMUNITY
We are held in authoritative
• Parents and Grandparents
• Civic and Social
Leaders and Institutions
• Religious or Spiritual
Advisors and Paths
• Employment and Recreational
Supervisors and Communities
MAJOR HISTORICAL TRADITIONS
• What are sources of wisdom for this
• What are the ambivalences or conflicts
for this patient in seeing this/these as a
• How literate is the client in the wisdom
Literature Practice Relationships
• Who exists in the client’s world as a ‘guru’
or mentor for this source?
12 STEP RECOVERY AS
A NEW WISDOM STREAM
The Book that Started it All
• Writers: Eckhard Tolle,
• Practices: Yoga studio,
CLINICAL AUTHORITY MUST BE
SENSITIVE TO OUR CLIENTS’
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A RICH LANDSCAPE OF
CONTEMPLATIVE AND OTHER
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES RETRAIN
THE BRAIN AND CONTRIBUTE TO
LONG TERM RECOVERY
E | J
TYPES OF MEDITATION OR
E | J
• Individual / Collective
• Structured / Extemporaneous
E | J