# 019 Taking A Spiritual History, 2nd ed


Medical College of Wisconsin (EPERC)


Background:  Illness raises fundamental questions – For what may I hope? Why do I suffer? Does my suffering have meaning? What happens after I die? When a physician stands with a patient as they face death, the physician inevitably plays a role in supporting the patient’s inquiry into these spiritual questions. In addition some patients have specific preferences or needs regarding medical care, death and dying that are based upon their religious beliefs. The physician often plays an important role in supporting a patient’s exploration of these issues. Taking a spiritual history is one way to support the patient in this exploration. Maugans (1997) presents a framework for taking a spiritual history; the interview below comes primarily from Maugans’ article with some modification based upon the other sources cited.


August 2005

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Bruce Ambuel, PhD

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