Chapter 5 introduces the concept of relational spirituality to suggest how a therapeutic relationship may support a patient’s spiritual experience of enhanced life meaning. Although different types of relationships may inform spirituality, this chapter focuses on the relationship between a hospice social worker and a patient. Research shows that therapeutic engagement involves a balance between technical skills and relational skills relative to caregiver expertise and patient capacity. This chapter suggests that the manner in which the therapeutic process unfolds as part of hospice social work can facilitate enhanced life meaning, called relational spirituality. A relational model for spiritually-sensitive hospice social work is introduced as a means of describing how this spiritual quality of therapeutic engagement can support patient care.
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