Emotion management in hospital chaplaincy

Kianpour, Masoud (2010) Emotion management in hospital chaplaincy. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with professional chaplains working in Toronto hospitals. In order to explore emotional experiences that chaplains undergo as a result of working in hospital and dealing with people who are emotionally overwhelmed, I utilized insights from interactional and symbolic interactionist, phenomenological, ethnomethodological and dramaturgical approaches within the sociology of emotions and spoke with 21 chaplains from five faith traditions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and modern paganism). The aim was to understand how chaplains manage their work-related emotions in order to protect their mental health, whilst also providing spiritual care. Modern chaplaincy is not about performing religious ritual as much as it is about providing emotional support. As a result, chaplains must be prepared to become deeply involved with emotions. Like a sponge, they should soak up patients' emotions. -- Based on actual accounts of work-related emotional experiences, I draw an emotional map for hospital chaplaincy in which typical situations likely to challenge chaplains are pinpointed as emotional hotspots. Emotional challenges are further discussed in terms of spiritual approach vs. medical approach, emotional identification with situation, dealing with baby death, inability to create effective communication, and emotional dissonance. Physical contact and crying, two major outlets of emotional expression, are analyzed in terms of emotion management. I also discuss different techniques, strategies and resources that chaplains rely on to perform their job. The result of the study shows that if chaplains fail to maintain a proper work-life balance, job pressure can be harmful. As a strategy, many chaplains work part-time. As a supportive means, an overwhelming number of chaplains regularly benefit from psychotherapy and/or spiritual guidance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8809
Item ID: 8809
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 217-227).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Chaplains, Hospital--Mental health; Emotions--Religious aspects; Emotions--Social aspects; Emotions--Sociological aspects; Work--Psychological aspects

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