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Whole Person Health Trust Clinic

A brief summary of the aims, objectives, methods and expected outcomes which was written after one year of running the clinic in 2003.

The whole-person-health Clinic is a new development seeking to provide a Christian model of health care for patients with multi-factorial problems based within General Practice.

The aim of the whole-person health care clinic is to empower and support patients with multi-factorial medical problems in order to maximize their health and deal with psychological, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of their illness. The clinic uses an understanding of wholeness and health which depends upon the relationship between the physical, psychological and spiritual elements of a person in both enhancing healing and also improving the ability to cope with the effects of chronic disease.

The objectives of the clinic are therefore:

  • To assess the health of patients using a whole-person health care model which encompasses physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects.
  • To combine a medical model of illness with a wider one including the patient’s personal beliefs, cultural and spiritual values, emotions, knowledge and behaviour.
  • To build up the person’s ability to cope with chronic illness as well as improve their internal defence mechanisms.
  • To seek for a resolution to ill-health problems in the person through an exploration of the psychological and spiritual elements in the disease process.
  • To examine issues around the way in which patient’s have control over the provision of health care for themselves, identifying ways in which they can exercise a more positive participation in the process of becoming healthier.
  • To identify a person’s mental and spiritual strengths and weaknesses and work with them to strengthen their ability to remain healthy despite the presence of disease processes.
  • To explore the social support networks and relationships in the person’s life and identifying ways in which they can be strengthened and improved.

The methods used to achieve these objectives are:

    • To accept patients either by referral from their own GP, or if being referred by other suitable agencies to obtain the GP’s agreement to the persons involvement in the clinic.
    • A review by a doctor of all medical diagnoses and treatments, allowing the person time to fully describe how their health impacts their life.
    • Sessions with a counsellor examining the whole of their lives, events, strengths and weaknesses, and understand how the various life-events have contributed to their current health status.
    • Sessions with a pastoral counsellor to review their values, attitudes and beliefs, and explore how these affect  their health behaviour.
    • Further therapy sessions with one of the clinic staff to encourage personal growth in areas of weakness, specifically related to the maintenance of health and appropriate health seeking activities.

The outcomes for patients are therefore:

  • Greater understanding of how their health is affected by the “whole-person”.
  • A strengthening of their ability to cope with the effects of disease.
  • Increased health and resolution of psychological and spiritual aspects of their ill-health problems.
  • Empowerment in the ability to use health care facilities in an appropriate way.
  • Greater integration of the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual elements of their lives to enhance wholeness and health.

Patient feedback and outcomes
Feedback from those patients who have completed the assessment course has been positive, and they have appreciated the help given. They have all commented on the value of having three different therapists going through their life and problems. They have seen how this produces a more rounded picture than in a one-to-one counselling situation.

Some typical comments include:

“It has been such a help to have the psychological and spiritual components discussed together. I have seen a secular psychologist in the past, who was very good, but who was not able to address the central issues of my anxiety and depression which centred around my Christian calling and ministry”

“The length of time taken over the assessment process was in fact a real benefit. I was not rushed and had time between sessions to consider issues in a more relaxed way. This in itself has been part of the healing process as I am now not in too much of a hurry, but am allowing God to work things through at His pace.”

“It has been helpful that the sessions took place in the GP practice. It was much less threatening”

“I have been given the ability to cope with myself much more”

“You seem to have discovered all there is to know about me”

Article reference: www.wphtrust.com/aims.html by Dr Michael G Sheldon,
first written 20 Feb 2002, this version October 19, 2011 , (c) WPH Trust
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