In Australian society, and therefore in our health care setting, we encounter a diversity of cultures, philosophies and religious traditions, as well as individuals who have no clearly defined philosophy or belief system. Therefore it's important that we develop some general definitions which can help us to recognise spiritual needs when we encounter them in our clients. In recent years, a number of definitions have emerged which are helpful both for defining spirituality, and differentiating between spiritual needs and religious or psychosocial needs.
Simsen defines spirituality by saying... "THE SPIRIT is that part of man which is concerned with the ultimate meaning of things and with a person's relationship to that which transcends the material." (Simsen, 1985:10) Moberg says it is... "The totality of man's inner resources, the ultimate concerns around which all other values are focussed, the central philosophy of life which influences all individual and social behaviour." (Moberg, 1979) SPIRITUAL NEED has been variously defined as, "Any factor that is necessary (requisite, indispensable) to support the spiritual strengths of a person or to diminish the spiritual deficits." (Simsen, 1985:10). "The lack of any factor or factors necessary to maintain a person's dynamic relationship with God/Deity (as defined by that person)." (Stallwood, 1975: 1088), and "That requirement... [continues]
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