Spiritual Healing at a Public Psychiatric Institution
Abstract: Introduction: Complementary medicine has an increasing importance also in Switzerland, above all for somatic diseases. The spreading of these methods in psychiatry and psychotherapy is a far slower process. The psychiatric outpatient service of the Swiss region Baselland offered, besides conventional psychotherapy and several different complementary methods, the possibility of spiritual healing and evaluated it by scientific means. Questions: Is a cooperation between a spiritual healer and a public institution feasible? What are the results of the treatment? How ist the perception of the treatment by the patients? Is further research promising? Method Patients with diverse and mostly long-term diseases willing to receive spiritual healing had, in addition to a conventional psychotherapy, been treated by a healer working in our facilities. Before and after the healing sequence as well as at the follow-up after 6 months the patients have been questioned by means of semistructured interviews to give their impression of the treatment and its results. The respective psychotherapists and the healer herself had to give their assessment of the treatment and its results as well. Results: The analysis of the data of the first 20 patients resulted in 9 persons stating a better wellbeing, one a deterioration and 8 broke off the treatment prematurely in unchanged health condition. The majority of patients very much appreciated the treatment in terms of ease and relaxation, only one patient reacted with anxiety and interrupted the first treatment. At the follow-up after 6 months there has been no change to the initial results. Two persons could not be reached for the post-evaluation. Discussion: Cooperation of a healer and a public psychiatric institution proved to be feasible and fruitful. For almost half of the patients, the treatment has been a remedy highly appreciated and only one patient has reacted negatively. Therefore it seems justifiable to further offer this type of treatment and to evaluate it. To back up this estimation further, also controlled research studies should be carried out with e. g. more homogeneous patient groups or with different healers.