Although hospital chaplains play a vital role in delivering emotional and spiritual care to a broad range of both religious and non-religious patients, there is remarkably little research on the best practices of chaplaincy training or “active ingredients” of chaplain spiritual consults. The need for rigorous research in this area is highlighted by the demands on modern-day chaplains to address broader emotional and social dimensions of care. Here, I describe a program of research to evaluate the impact of compassion-informed spiritual healthcare delivered by hospital chaplains. CCSH™ (Compassion-Centered Spiritual Health) augments chaplaincy education with CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training), a secular meditation practice that draws from the eleventh-century Tibetan Buddhist lojong tradition. In addition, CCSH teaches a new compassion-centered approach to spiritual consultation. This research examines whether CCSH is an effective addition to spiritual healthcare and explores the linguistic components of chaplain intervention that lead to improved patient outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the skillful means by which the wisdom of compassion may be translated to reduce suffering and enhance well-being in individuals at their most vulnerable, in states of acute pain, fear, and loss of control.

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD

Science & Grants Consultant, Mind & Life Institute; Emory University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Reviewer

Jenny Mascaro is an applied biological anthropologist whose research focuses on investigating the impact of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on the well-being, compassion, and health of both hospitalized patients … MORE

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