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Running head: CREATING WELLNESS—Psychological & Spiritual Aspect of Healing

Self-Assessment Assignment

Brandon Erickson

Kaplan University

Unit 9

HW420 Creating Wellness: Psychological & Spiritual Aspect of Healing


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Assessment Unit 9

Create a spiritual and psychological inventory that can be used to


determine a current state of wellness. The inventory should be a list of at
least 10 well thought out questions that can be asked to best help
someone understand their spectrum of spirituality and psychological self.
Be sure to explain specific reasons why each question is valuable to
include as part of this inventory. Then, interview someone using your
inventory and report your findings. As a practitioner, explain how you
could use this information to help the interviewee develop his or her own
spiritual and psychological health development plan. Discuss any
additions or subtractions you would make to your inventory based on your results.
Explain why you would make any changes.

For this interview I had the privilege of interviewing yoga instructor Sabrina
Bodden from Dragonfly Yoga.

1. Do you have spiritual beliefs that help you cope with stress?
I think this question is important because it is seeking to understand if someone
has spiritual muscle or the intangible inner strength to deal with roadblocks or other
obstacles along the spiritual path. (Seaward, 2013, p.129) Sabrina makes reference to a
classic book that is also referred to in the class text on page 117-titled Man’s search for
Meaning.

Sabrina: Stress comes in such varying degrees, and yet, the body only knows one way
to respond - by moving from our usual parasympathetic nervous state, to a state where
the sympathetic nervous system takes over, known as “fight or flight” mode.

More simply, the same response, in varying degrees that our body has to fear is what
shows up when we encounter any level of stress, whether it is something annoying in
traffic, or the trauma of a serious accident or loss.

If we can move past fear in any stressful situation, then, often our body also responds
by moving back into parasympathetic mode, or, the sense that we are “okay”.

How does this answer your question? I’m not sure it does, but I know that since
developing faith; since experiencing first hand over and over the growth and opportunity
that is available out of every trauma or annoyance, my response to stress is now much
more readily a move to release fear and come back to into faith, rather than to fight or
flight.

Viktor E Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is
our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Faith gives me something to turn to when I find myself in that space.
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Having faith allows me to move through pleasant times in gratitude and reflection, and
through unpleasant times trusting that the hurdle will elevate me to an even better life
than before… or it will kill me. Either way, faith allows me to let go, and allow things to
happen, gracefully.

2. Have your beliefs influenced how you take care of yourself?


I think this question is important because it is getting at an underline point of
asking about values, as Seaward mentions our values support the belief system.
(Seaward, p.119)

Sabrina: Hmmm… that’s a good question. I can’t think of a way directly that I’ve
associated my beliefs with my self-care… but upon being faced with the question I
wonder if it has influenced my choices.

I suppose my faith gives me comfort with the fluidity of money, being able to spend my
last dime, trusting that more is coming. I’m not stingy when I’m “broke”, and I don’t
usually use language like that because I know I’m blessed and that money, like all
things, comes in waves/cycles. I “tithe” to the things that light my soul up, telling the
Universe, “more of this” and “money out invites money in”. Works every time.
Unexpected income always arrives within a few days of tithing outward. Faith works
wonders with the laws of attraction.

Because of that fluidity I feel around money, thanks to faith, I am more willing to invest
in my own self-care. I book at least 1-2 massages each month, skip work if it causes
me suffering, and don’t force myself to do things that aren’t in my best interest just
because I feel a lack of resources.

I also stopped worrying about my food so much. I could eat super healthy and still get
cancer, so I know I can’t prevent it… but I know worrying about it only makes it more
likely, so I just eat what feels good to eat and don’t think too much about it. I’m going to
die somehow someday. I might as well enjoy my taste buds while I’ve got them!

3. Are you part of a religious or spiritual community? Is this support to you, and how?
I like this question because of how it relates to the exercise seasons of the soul,
the connecting process summer. (Seaward, p.153) I may discover by asking this
question that perhaps they have a deep desire to engage in the community but maybe
they haven’t found a comfortable support group to channel this positive growth with. At
this point I could offer suggestions that might allow them to further engage with the
community fostering spiritual connectedness.

Sabrina: Not really. Yoga is supposed to be spiritual (according to the ancient


teachings) but I don’t see many people in our community practicing in the ways yoga
was intended. I bowed out of participation in religion during my 8th cycle around the
sun, when the reasoning parts of my brain developed and the religious community was
unable to appease my outspoken skeptic. The only religious community I’ve gotten to
be a part of that was meaningful for me was when I dated a Rastafarian man, who went
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to his parents home three times per day to pray, smoke pot and eat heartily together.
They showed me that faith can be practiced in a variety of ways, and can be unique to
an individual or family, without needing an organizing religion or one agreed set of
beliefs. His mother was always welcoming of my questions and strong opinions, and
gently showed me where some of my blind spots were. This opened my heart to asking
spiritual questions again, and softened the righteous scientist that was always in control.

4. What are your sources of hope, strength, comfort and peace? (Hight, 2001)
This question could identify if sources of hope are missing. In the text we learn
that hope is essentially built upon optimism, trust and love. This question could identify if
these areas are in need of spiritual healing.

Sabrina: Meditation and pranayama have helped greatly. Being able to ground my
body and mind, and then remember that nothing is as terrible as it seems in the
moment, and that all things are fleeting, and flowing, and that what goes up must come
down and vice versa… keeps me from going down the rabbit hole of hopelessness and
depression that can be so easy to move into. The skills developed in yoga help create
that space between stimulus and response, so that I can make contact with and move
forward with my faith.

5. Would you consider yourself to be more spiritual or faith preference grounded and why?
The intent of this question is to determine if values are driven from religion or
spiritual wellness. The power of religion can be a roadblock to self-growth and this may
need further explaining with the client as we discuss spiritual growth.

Sabrina was somewhat confused by this question so in the future I’d reword it to ask in

a two part way: Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person, or not? Do you think of

yourself as a religious person, or not?


Sabrina: I prefer to believe I am a spiritual being (as opposed to what, I don’t know?)

and I prefer having faith, as opposed to being faithless.

6. When you hear the word spirituality what is your first thought? What does this word
mean to you?
I think this is a great question because it opens up dialogue within the realm of
spirituality. The question can also be a way to better understand how they interpret the
meaning of spirituality. As we’ve learned there’s many spiritual paths with no path being
more righteous than another.

Sabrina: First thoughts… Oneness. Divinity. Consciousness.


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To me, spirituality is the quality of being concerned with or interested in the “you” that is
separate from your physical form. It’s work of consciousness, waking up, and
remembering who you are.

7. Can you think of a time when your spirituality was challenged and how did you
overcome that time?
I think this question is important because when it is deeply explored we can
understand how to best help them if they are stagnate or learn from coping strategies
that have worked in the past.

Sabrina: The first 30 years of my life! Lol! Just kept moving forward and letting go.

8. How often and in what ways do you reflect on spiritual growth including internal/external
relationships, our purpose in life and our value system?
I like this question as it draws out a key piece of information to nurturing spiritual
health, which is the purpose of one’s life, where we get direction.

Sabrina: Pretty much constantly, unless I’m sleeping, watching TV or reading a book to
take a break, these are usually the directions my mind goes. Currently I am reading
Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’. A book that encourages pondering spiritual wellness.

9. Have you identified emotional roadblocks such as unresolved anger, laziness, denial or
greed or other roadblocks that may have manifested into tangible obstacles preventing
spiritual growth?
I think this question is important because it helps in identifying areas that might
be prohibiting growth, so it ties in nicely with question 8. To help illustrate how obstacles
can affect spiritual growth I’d incorporate James Fowler’s stages of faith work to explain
the concept.

Sabrina: Oh yeah! I’m sure there’s many more to reveal and work on, too!

10. Have you considered using complementary medicine (e.g., massage therapy, herbal
remedies, energy healing, music therapy, etc.)? If so which ones and why? Do you feel
a sense of mind, body, and spirit integration as you partake in these modalities?
I think this question is important because it allows them to open up about what
has been tried, what worked what didn’t and so forth. Having taken yoga classes with
Sabrina I can say that she prefers slow meditative yoga to the faster paced type. In
some of her classes she will use therapy essential oils to help with calming.

Sabrina: Yes, I have used massage, herbs, reiki, intuitive work, tapping, dancing, and
other forms of healing, because I can’t know if something will help unless I try it myself.
I’d say I felt mind, body, spirit integration with herbs, reiki, tapping and dancing…less
with others.
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11. Do you practice spiritual strength and conditioning maybe through walking with a light
heart, patience, compassion, faith, acceptance or other self identified ways?
I think this question is important because it gives some great suggestions
prompting the idea that other practices might come to mind. As with all of the questions
depending on how they answer will determine a spiritual condition or degree. Seaward
helps by identifying them throughout the text including: spiritual hunger, spiritual
bankruptcy, spiritual dormancy and spiritual materialism. On the opposite end of the
spiritual spectrum would be enlightenment.

Sabrina: Yes, I focus on incorporating the yamas and niyamas of yoga into my daily life.

12. What adventure awaits you? What new threshold are you ready to cross so that you can
begin a new chapter in your life?
I like this question because it allows the mind to think about what spark waits to
be lit within the human soul of desire. This is also a fun way of saying, hey, I believe in
you and now is the time to go chase down that next desire from the soul.

Sabrina: I’m finally honoring what’s true in my heart and the heart of my long-time
romantic partner, and opening up to polyamory. I have a new romance budding, and
this awareness of how stable and awesome my current primary partnership is. It’s
awesome, exciting, and feels like a spiritual move to be more authentic and alive.

The findings of this survey would allow me to provide the client with a valuable

understanding of where they may be in terms of spiritual strength and growth. I think one

of the questions that I’d change is when I ask about spiritual preference it would be broken

up into two parts. Some questions brought up unpleasant feelings from the past making it

difficult to gather much in the way of spiritual development. Seeing this made me aware of

the importance that we as wellness practitioners learn to be okay with the information

given.
Leaving others with options to improve their spiritual wellness is important in

providing care beyond the office hours. To help improve spiritual wellness I’d recommend

the following activities as a general practice guide.


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Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:


1. Explore your spiritual core.
2. Spend time alone/meditate regularly.
3. Be inquisitive and curious.
4. Be fully present in everything you do.
5. Listen with your heart and live by your principles.
6. Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are.
7. See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you.
8. Volunteer
(UW Stevens, 2018)
I would conclude the interview by giving gratitude for their time and offer them

encouragement to continue placing spiritual wellness in the forefront of their life. My

suggestions of relevant spiritual support would be drafted up in a summary paper for the

client after I took time to reflect upon their answers. This reflecting period would provide

me the appropriate time to develop options on improving their spiritual strength beyond

what might me discussed directly following the assessment interview. I think a follow-up

established by setting check-in intervals would be ideal to see what progress is being made

or what guidance could be of help in keeping them on the path towards spiritual

enlightenment. Not everyone will make it that far, but as proactive practitioners we

certainly should be there for support beyond the initial interview.


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References:

Anandarajah, G., & Hight, E. (2001). Spirituality and medical practice: using the hope
questions as a practical tool for spiritual assessment. American Family
Physician, 63(1), 81-89. Retrieved from
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0101/p81.html#afp20010101p81-t3

George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. (2018). Fica spiritual
assesment tool. Retrieved from https://smhs.gwu.edu/gwish/clinical/fica

Seaward, B. L. (2013). Health of the Human Spirit, 2nd Edition. [Kaplan]. Retrieved
from https://kaplan.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781284090444

UW Stevens Point School of Health Promotion and Human Development. (2018).


Seven dimensions of wellness. Retrieved from
https://www.uwsp.edu/HPHD/Pages/7dimensions.aspx