Abstract ID: 3285

Primary Topic: Clinical skills-building
Secondary Topic: Integrative medicine delivery models

Spirituality and Health: The Science of Connection and Meaning and Why This Matters
Tobi Fishel, PhD, Director of Residency Wellness, , United States

Late Breaker: No


Spirituality has been a contraversial, and significant aspect of health and healing. Within the arena of integrative medicine, holistic health as described as addressing mind, body and spirit but much less attention has been paid to the latter, even though there is a robust literature outlining the benefits of exploring spirituality and its connection to one's illness, and that having spiritual practices can provide protective mechanisms for health and well-being. In addition, with clinician (particularly physician) burnout and depression being recognized as an epidemic in the U.S., many solutions are focused on returning the clinician's focus to meaning in medicine, very much connected to the spirituality of health and healing. This workshop will examine the latest research on spirituality and health, spirituality and compassion, and spiritualty and meaning-making for patients and clinicians alike. Experiential practices that can be used for clinician self-care as well as for patients' well-being will be offered.


Much research has demonstrated significant benefits in health outcomes by engaging in spiritual practices. However, this area in often minimized and even neglected in the clinical encounter. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the research showing health benefits for patients as well as learn practical ways to introduce this concept and ways to incorporate practices into the encounter (e.g., compassion meditation, rituals, ceremony, meaning making).


Participants will be able to identify current research in the area of spirituality and health.

Participants will explore the connection between spirituality, connection, depression, illness, and compassion.

Participants will learn and practice three exercises that can be used for patients and clinicians for health benefits (i.e., gratitude, compassion, ritual)

Methods/Session Format

90 minutes

powerpoint and experiential practices alone and in pairs


Definitions - spirituality versus religion

Research on spirituality and health - less anxiety, more ease and better copign with chroni illness, experience more meaning in illness, longer life, less depression, less burnout for clinicians

Exploration of connection between spirituality and compassion

Experiential practices - gratitude, compassion meditation, ritual/ceremony

Review of a case

Materials to be Distributed

handout on experiential practices