Posted: December 4, 2016
Ala Al Thibeh

Ala’ Al-Thibeh loves being a spiritual care provider at Grand River Hospital.

Spiritual care providers are key for supporting the spiritual well-being of patients in the hospital. When patients and families are in crisis, spiritual care providers are often called upon to provide assistance and support.

In her two months so far as a spiritual care intern at the hospital, Ala’ has learned it’s important to be present and compassionate when with an individual.

What interested you in becoming a spiritual care provider?

Spirituality has always been a topic that I have found to be thought-provoking and has an impact on one’s day-to-day life. Spiritual care providers support in various ways that help an individual in understanding and building on their identity all while focusing on creating meaning in a person’s life.

Spirituality is important in my own life. This has led me to a Masters in Theology, specializing in spiritual care and psychotherapy.

Why is spiritual care important to you?

Spirituality is an important aspect of my life as it has allowed me to question who I am, question the impact of situations around me and has helped me determine what is meaningful in my personal life. This has allowed me to explore why a situation made me feel the way it did, how my experiences have formed who I am today, and how these experiences will shape who I am in the future.

How is it spiritual care in a hospital different than what may be provided in the community?

I don’t really think spiritual care in a hospital is too different than spiritual care provided in the community. Even though they are different environments, spirituality can be different for everyone to begin with. Spirituality can be experienced in various ways depending on an individual’s practices, beliefs, values and what they consider to be meaningful in their lives.

Spiritual care in a community setting is more “set in stone” in a sense that each community has its own way of applying spiritual care which is based on their own beliefs and practices. This makes it more of a regular routine in the community compared to a hospital setting.

What have you hoped to accomplish in your time here as an intern?

We live in a very diverse community. I want to learn the appropriate skills in regards to how spiritual care is practiced and delivered in a diverse community.

What have you come to learn so far?

I have come to learn the importance of being in the presence of an individual and practicing compassion while being able to walk alongside others.

Whether being in a sacred space, being around people you trust, or through the use of various mediums such as the many different art forms, spiritual care is an avenue in which an individual can express their hopes, feelings, desires and understand who they are during moments of strength and moments of difficulty within their life.

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