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The meaning of life in medicine: non-religious spiritual care in Japan

Clark Chilson

Abstract


Within the context of a growing global interest in the role of spirituality in medicine, “spiritual care” has developed as a form of patient-centered care that addresses existential suffering. This paper provides an introduction to spiritual care in Japan. On the basis of publications by leading Japanese authors on spiritual care, it first shows how spiritual care developed in Japan and how it is understood as a way of providing meaning and comfort distinct from “religious care.” Then it introduces some common methods used for spiritual care in Japan. Overall, it argues that the way spiritual care is conceptualized and offered in Japan provides suggestions for how spiritual care might be offered to patients who are non-religious and do not see themselves as “spiritual”.


Keywords


Buddhism, chaplaincy, existential suffering, Japan, meaning, person-centered healthcare, psycho-existential suffering, religion, spiritual care, spirituality

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5750/ejpch.v5i4.1329

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