Spiritual counselors help cancer patients through difficult times
by Anadolu Agency
ANKARAFeb 11, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Feb 11, 2016 12:00 am
Spiritual counseling services at hospitals provided by the Directorate of Religious Affairs and the Health Ministry helps patients, relatives of patients and hospital staff to overcome hard times. The service is available for cancer patients to help them adapt to the treatment process more easily.
Mehmet Ali Gülçelik, the head physician at Dr. Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Ankara Oncology Training and Research Hospital, said that cancer patients are in need of both medical and spiritual support and continued, "I can say that we improve our treatment potential by providing both medical and spiritual care to our patients."
Fatih Göksel, the deputy head physician of Ankara Oncology Hospital also said, "This service has been practiced in the U.S. and Europe. You may even come across a priest or a rabbi writing prescriptions to patients in the U.S. The service is provided in accordance with patients' needs. Spiritual support is not related to a certain religion but is intended for patients and their close ones."
Göksel said that spiritual support helps patients and their relatives to approach the treatments in a more positive way. However, he underscored that spiritual support is not a method of treatment. The staff offering spiritual support in hospitals are chosen and assigned among experts in religion who completed their master's or PhD studies in psychology of religion, prayer chaplaincy and social service.
Süheyb Okur, who interviews patients and their relatives as a spiritual support counselor, said that they offer help to anyone who needs the service. "When we first began as spiritual counselors, we accompanied doctors during morning visits and tried to get to know patients. Currently we are visiting the patients alone and trying to introduce ourselves. So far, we have been able to reach out to a total of 515 patients, their relatives and hospital staff in person," Okur concluded.