Logotherapeutic Healing for Caretakers

A friend of mine who uses logotherapy in her work as a nurse for seriously ill patients has been discussing with me her ideas about how to teach the nursing staff practical ways of incorporating the healing power of logotherapy with their patients.

Please send your comments to this post if you have any ideas. What can hospital nurses do in a practical way that would be more of a help to the people they are serving? Whatever suggestions you offer will extend way beyond the border of myself and help a very great number of people.

I answered her with the idea of giving a workshop on how to help people find meaning in their suffering – not in the suffering itself but in who they can become, strengths gained through the suffering. Of course this has to be done sensitively, by first acknowledging the person’s pain.

I also liked her idea of teaching about dereflection to focus them on things that are important to them, and added that plain old distraction of humorous movies should be incorporated into the hospital setting, as well as music that will uplift caretakers and patients at the same time.

I drew up a page that caretakers can read to themselves before they start their work. I would appreciate any ideas you have to share on this or any general ideas. Here is the page.

Logotherapeutic Healing for Caretakers

The following orientations towards meaning are aimed to heal the healer along with the patient, by verbalizing the list at the start of work, thus providing a focus throughout the day. The language is addressed to the patient but it is actually a silent question in the mind of the caretaker when seeing the patient. Just thinking these things will put the caretaker in touch with what to do or say. Where appropriate, it can be verbalized to the patient.

• This precious life I see before me is unconditionally meaningful and one-of-a-kind in all the world

• What can I learn about who you are? (Taste in music, hobbies, humor, etc.)

• I want to pay attention to see: What small detail in your care will make a difference to you?

• How can I help you maintain your dignity and allow you to do what you’re capable of doing and choose where you are still capable of choosing for yourself?

• How has your illness brought out strengths in you? (Only verbalize this out loud where appropriate. The caretaker can also recognize the patients strengths and affirm them. For example after a procedure “That was brave of you.”

• How can I help you feel good about receiving this care from me? – Even if I am busy, it can be one word, a smile, a caress, etc. I understand that when I make someone feel good about receiving I will feel good about giving.

• This gift of care comes back to me in the form of being “a giver.” These are my special accomplishments in life No one can take that away from me.

• How does your soul want to prepare to depart peacefully from this world?

• What are you proud of that you’ve accomplished in your life?

• Who do you love?

• What would make you feel special that you can do and want to do right now?

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