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Spiritual Care - Research Team

The profession of spiritual care is dedicated to supporting people in their search for meaning, especially in situations that give rise to existential questions.

This is a challenging task in our secular and diverse society in which sharing a religious language can't be taken for granted, and in which the field of spiritual care is highly influenced by de-institutionalization. These developments not only have implications for person-to-person spiritual care, but also for discussing social imaginaries of 'the good life' in the public sphere. Relating to both private and public existential questions, our research focuses on the role of spiritual care with regard to both people‚Äôs personal search for meaning and political issues of sustainable development. 

Research Team - Spiritual Care

  • Mission and aims

    The mission of this new research group is to give a strong impetus to the practice, teaching and academic development of spiritual care through empirical and systematic research, focusing on spiritual care in an interreligious context and on a hermeneutic approach in which narrative, imagination and dialogue take center stage. Next to spiritual care in personal settings, our mission includes the societal and political responsibility of spiritual care in

    • contributing to interreligious dialogue;
    • enhancing people's moral and existential sensitivities in our late-modern society with its challenges regarding sustainable development.
    • Contributing to interreligious dialogue

    Drawing on the growing academic interest in interfaith spiritual care, our research seeks to contribute to the development of strategies for spiritual care that do justice both to religious diversity and the dynamics of people's search for meaning in a late modern society. How do you support someone who is not used to expressing existential concerns or does this in ways that are unfamiliar to the spiritual caregiver? Strategies for interfaith spiritual care will be explored for their relevance in relation to interreligous dialogue in the public domain. For this, we work closely together with the research group Transformations of Religiosity in conducting empirical research on contemporary meaning making both on an individual and a communal level. This line of research will result in a Handbook (see below) and an application in the open competition of NWO.

    • Enhancing moral and existential sensitivities

    We understand spiritual care as having implications for societal questions regarding meaningful life in a just and compassionate society. Working closely together with the Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Sustainable Development, we will develop design research with a methodology based on strengthening hope and imaginative experimentation. Related to Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Good health and well-being), we will study implications for mental health, especially when it comes to the relationship between mental health and religion/spirituality. For this line of research, we will apply for a grant with the John Templeton Foundation.

    The research agenda of this group for 2021-2024 is:

    • to publish a handbook in Dutch on spiritual care in an interreligious context to be used in academic MA courses in Spiritual Care (to be published in 2023);
    • to do empirical and systematic research in the domain of interfaith spiritual care, bringing together professional and academic fields, resulting in both academic and professional publications;
    • to develop design research in the field of spiritual care and Sustainable Development Goals, working along lines of 1) strengthening hope and imagination, and 2) contributing to mental health; resulting in academic and professional publications and an international conference;
    • to do empirical research in the domain of professional skills, especially with regard to hermeneutic competence and imaginative capacity, resulting in both professional and academic publications and training programs.
  • Team

  • Subjects for Master- and PhD- research

    • strategies for interfaith spiritual care
    • theological/philosophical assumptions that inform interfaith spiritual care
    • the relationship between mental health and religion/spirituality in their individual and collective forms
    • the role of the arts and imagination in spiritual care
    • spiritual care and challenges of sustainable development
  • Collaboration Senior and Junior Researchers

    The junior researchers (MA and PhD) will present their research in meetings of the group and will contribute to writing articles and the co-organization of conferences or expert meetings. In this way, their supervision will involve more than the feedback from their main supervisor. One of the junior researchers will act as a secretary of the research group, thus acquiring experience in the administration of academic work.

  • Collaboration with external partners

    The research group Spiritual Care has close connections with several of the seminaries that work together in FRT ('remonstrants', buddhist, islamic, hindu), works together with the Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Sustainable Development, and is involved in the 'Landelijke Kenniswerkplaats Zingeving en Geestelijke Verzorging' (ZonMW).

  • Contribution to teaching

    The research group Spiritual Care both contributes to and receives input from the FRT educational program: