Assessing and providing for the spiritual and soul (mind, will, emotions) needs of individuals, families and communities can kindle important capacities of hope and resilience. While a disaster may have initially evoked feelings of rage, dismay, and shock, the transition to long-term recovery may involve feelings of exhaustion, confusion, and despair.
Hope is the central capacity that contributes toward personal and communal resiliency. It enables individuals, families and communities to endure great hardship with courage. The maintenance of hope during times of struggle is a central priority of spiritual care providers. The loss of hope is despair.
Despair is one of the most crippling human spiritual conditions. It can adversely affect many other areas of physical, mental and spiritual health. Despair can begin to take root when tasks seem insurmountable and conditions seem unsolvable. Therefore, some of the most powerful interventions that can be performed by spiritual care providers are interventions that specifically stimulate a sense and experience of hope in individuals and communities.
A spiritual soul care provider can facilitate a guided conversation around specific themes with an individual or a family, encouraging people to verbalize tangible examples of successes during other periods of difficulty in several areas, including:
Personal life history
Family-the broader history of parents, grandparents, and ancestors
Cultural-national, ethnic, and cultural experiences
Spiritual-the history of one’s faith group or spiritual perspective
These arenas represent concentric circles of existence and meaning in life. When one brings to mind examples of success in the face of adversity, a renewed and bolstered sense of hope emerges that can sustain an individual, family, and community throughout the current crisis.
Anniversaries of disasters require special concern for emotional and spiritual care providers. Even long after the initially strong feelings of fear, anger and pain have passed, an anniversary of the event can trigger these feelings again. Community memorial services can be helpful in giving voice to and space for some of the strong feelings prompted by an anniversary.
National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters
Long Term Recovery Guide