The Department of Health (DoH) have recently published their 6-point agenda for Compassionate Care in the NHS. This drive has been introduced across the board, rather than in any one specific field of healthcare....the DoH clearly recognises that the recuperation of patients' health does not soley rely upon medication and staffing, but also upon the ability for staff to deliver care, in a stressful, emotionally challenging and often understaffed working environment.
Compassion is defined by the NHS as empathy, kindness, trust, respect and dignity. Transpersonal Psychology provides a road map for uncovering these qualities, that we naturally have. This page demonstrates how the fundamental aspects of Transpersonal Psychology fulfill the Department of Health's drive for compassion to be a focal point of care;
"Compassion is empathising with another’s suffering with an open heart and the ability to accommodate the experience with peaceful acceptance. This act in itself is and emerges as, a desire to help the emotional experience transform. Compassion is an abstract signifier of our interconnection. Our interconnection is a scientific reality, defined by the human ability to entrain and resonate with externally and internally-triggered stimuli, such as those that govern sleep-wake cycles, or our automated capacity for body mirroring at a subconscious level and the empathy we can feel when watching other people's emotions. It is this same connection with others that explains why we come to build destructive defence mechanisms that block our natural flow of kindness and compassion. These defences are created through fear of an unwanted emotion. This fear only exists in the absence of knowing our inner connection. Yet there exists the possibility for developing healthy boundaries that are at the same time compassionate, that do not separate self from others, rather come to respect our commonality and appreciate how this contributes to our unique expression of this commonality. The way of peaceful acceptance culminates through compassionate mindful practices."
The Department of Health's 6-Point Agenda
1) Looking after the patients with care.
2) Delivering this care with compassion (empathy, kindness, trust, respect and dignity).
3) Care delivered by competent nurses and care staff.
4) Improved communication with patients as partners.
5) Care delivered with courage (to speak up when things are wrong, spread good practice, place interests of
others before your own, to challenge, to stop, to work as a team.).
6) Commitment to work as a team.
The original NHS document can be found here; http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/compassion-in-practice.pdf
How Transpersonal Psychology fulfills these criteria;
"Looking after the patients with Care" and "Delivering the care with compassion" (as defined above).
These elements naturally emerge from the study of transpersonal psychology, with its focus on the nature of suffering and compassion for oneself as well as others. The transpersonal psychology view is that compassion already exists underneath the layers of habitual defence and reactivity that we have built up over time. Transpersonal practices combined with education enable the path to be cleared so that individuals can respond and work with life, from a balanced, content and stable sense of self.
"Care delivered by competent nurses and care staff"
Competence is distinguished from qualification. To be competent in a care setting means that the staff member must have a functional capacity to deliver care. This requires personal self development, learning how to manage and reduce stress and developing emotional life skills. Transpersonal Psychology also complements the development of practices such as meditation, yoga and integrative therapies that can unravel more holistic cognitive schemas and existential experiences, such as the value and presence of compassion.
"Improved communication with patients as partners" and "Commitment to work as a team."
The NHS clearly state that patients are partners who should be listened to and respected. As such, patients are part of the team. To respect and work with patients as members of the team, means to listen, to accept (but not necessarily agree with) their views or specific beliefs while attempting to understand the patient's diverse needs. This not only takes a certain quality in ourselves to come forward that Transpersonal Psychology cultivates, but may include acknowledging multicultural beliefs, practices and values. Transpersonal Psychology accommodates these facets, complementing the NHS’s drive towards patient choice as an important factor of modern healthcare. This choice should include transpersonal-based therapies, such as practical workshops or educational courses, if the patient so believes it will be a useful aspect of their rehabilitation.
For more details about workshops and events suitable for both staff and patients, please visit the
Science of Compassion website