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It seemed that nurses who demonstrated a personal search for meaning in their own lives, although they identified a narrow range of spiritual needs, gave spiritual care at a deeper level than those who did not demonstrate this characteristic - Essay Example

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Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an inspirational account of his struggle to hold out hope while being a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps for three years. His work has been hailed by Carl Rogers as one of the greatest contributions to psychological thought…
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It seemed that nurses who demonstrated a personal search for meaning in their own lives, although they identified a narrow range of spiritual needs, gave spiritual care at a deeper level than those who did not demonstrate this characteristic
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Running head: A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR MEANING A Personal Search for Meaning Educational A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR MEANING 2
A Personal Search for Meaning
Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an inspirational account of his struggle to hold out hope while being a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps for three years. His work has been hailed by Carl Rogers as one of the greatest contributions to psychological thought. As a result of his suffering, he arrived at the conclusion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life, which has forever changed the way people’s humanity in the face of suffering is understood (Frankl, 1992).
Through Frankl’s tribulations, he formed logotherapy, which is his own version of existential analysis. Logotherapy deals with the weaving of the slender threads of a broken life into a strong pattern of responsibility and meaning. Frankl, like Freud, concerns himself with the nature and cure of neuroses. Of the several neuroses delineated by Frankl, he traces the noogenic ones to “the failure of the sufferer to find meaning and a sense of responsibility in his existence” (Allport, 1992). In other words, to have a full life, people need to have a reason for living. Without it, people may feel hopeless, may feel that life is not worth living. For some, this is a short-term situation, for others it is not.
In the concentration camps, Frankl noticed that prisoners who had a deep faith coped much better than those who had no faith, the latter committing more suicide than the former. By faith, Frankl meant a personal spirituality and not necessarily being a member of a particular religion. Frankl himself was able to use this spirituality as a support through the tough times (HLSC 241 Spirituality in Health Care, 2012). Nurses might do so as well.
A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR MEANING 3
In fact, “self-awareness is one of the most important personal skills that a nurse can have when providing care that meets the spiritual needs of another human being” (ibid.). It is essential that nurses understand their own beliefs and values and how they influence actions and interactions with others. Reflective writing in a journal can help in that regard. Gradually increasing our self-awareness can lead to a deepening of one’s spiritual growth. Ross (1997, as cited in McSherry, 2006) explains this connection between self-awareness and the provision of spiritual care as follows: “...it seemed that nurses who demonstrated a personal search for meaning in their own lives, although they identified a narrow range of spiritual needs, gave spiritual care at a deeper level than those who did not demonstrate this characteristic.” Self-awareness can be developed through “reflection, critical analysis and appraisal of oneself and experiences” (ibid.).
This student’s personal reflections on Frankl’s (1997) quote that “in spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen” are several. Stripped of the bigger house, the better clothes, the promotions, etcetera, one sees what is really important in life; namely, life itself. One cannot find some high status relatives to help, but we all need someone at some time. Consequently, in the camps during really rough times one would be inclined to pray to a higher power for the mortal and immortal welfare of oneself and one’s inmates. One would think and rethink one’s values and beliefs and be a good Samaritan whenever possible.
A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR MEANING 4
References
Allport, G. W. (1992). Preface. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, Massachusetts:
Beacon Press.
Frankl, V. (1997). Man’s search for ultimate meaning (Revised/updated ed.). New York:
Insight Books.
HLSC 241. Spirituality in Health Care. Week two: Summer A semester 2012. Assessment
Two – Viktor Frankl assessment. Part i, ii, & iii.
McSherry, W. (2006). Making sense of spirituality in nursing and health care practice: An
interactive approach (2nd ed.). London: Jessica Kingsley. Read More
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