Monday, March 4, 2013

Progress on Goals for Unit II

Accessing emotions in the midst of pain and sorrow and using emotions to communicate more effectively with peers and patients continues to be a main goal for me.  I am taking time spiritually to consider where my heart is and what is stirring within me throughout the day. 

The concepts we learned and employed in this unit all had to do with using the life events and cultural contexts of our family of origin.  We focused on using family systems theory to inform our pastoral practice.  The genogram exercise increased my gratitude for my spiritual family, my deceased ancestors, and my living family, and I feel a closer bond with all of them as a result.  I learned that the Karpman drama triangle can be a dangerous trap that produces anxiety and creates problems later on if it forms a template for future relationships.  It can be an effective tool for pastoral care of patients when entanglement in a family triangle is impeding the path to healing.   

I grew more adept at making life story connections and accessing my own emotions in the midst of providing pastoral care to patients. My supervisor and I both believe I made adequate progress in emotional awareness during this unit, but I know I will continue to work on that for the rest of my life because it is part of my New England inheritance to be reserved emotionally.  Experiences with transference and emotional boundaries in pastoral care during this unit have taught me to recognize and navigate those better. 

Spiritual companionship for elderly patients is an area where I have natural skill and I continue to develop skill in that area.  I am beginning to work more on compassionate care for the dying and their families and I'm glad that my next assignments will give me more experience in that.  I plan to continue to use the empowerment triangle and family systems theory to provide care for families, particularly in end of life decision-making and grief work.

I especially enjoyed the genogram project because sharing them created a deeper intimacy among us as a learning group and gave us a way of really seeing each others vulnerabilitiesIn the next two units I will be working in the Intensive Care, Trauma and Renal units, and partnering with the Palliative Care team to get more experience providing pastoral care for patients moving onto comfort care and their families.