This healing thing is complicated.
Years ago I sent Andrew Weil’s book, Spontaneous Healing, to a relative who had a life threatening disease, and it got complicated. My gesture was interpreted as “you can cure yourself”.
There’s the religious slant
The religious side of “being healed” slides into the notion of “being cured”. And has the message, “if you believe hard enough, you can cure yourself”. Catholic, anyone? And then there’s sainthood, which usually involves a gesture of healing others, ie curing others.
There’s the medical slant
My experience is that we nurses don’t talk about healing in acute care clinical settings. Again, it can get mired in the notion of disease and illness curing for patients and physicians.
Caring Science and healing
“Effective Caring promotes healing, health, individual / family growth and a sense of wholeness, forgiveness, evolved consciousness, and inner peace that transcends the crisis and fear of disease, diagnosis, illness, trauma, life changes, and so on.” (Watson, 2008, p 17)
I confess, I have wrestled with healing. I have had to methodically separate the notion of healing from my empirical knowledge side (albeit dwindling) in my deep dives into caring science and caring language.
Mind Body Spirit, Integrative health
In the world of meditation, mindfulness, holistic health, healing is an everyday word. It’s an integrative part of becoming whole as a person.
Wellness consciousness is seeping into the healthcare industry.
For better healthcare – All streams of caring science and holistic nursing are efforts to mainstream healing into nursing and healthcare.
What healing is – an important distinction
Healing is always self-healing.
Healing comes from within each of us. Others don’t heal us. We don’t heal others. Each person heals themselves.
Healing is wrapped up in the experience of vulnerability and suffering.
Through self-care, Healing :
- lives in our inner world of feelings, emotions and reactions
- is created by a sudden sense of insight, a momentary or enduring sense of peace, a resolution of an adversity, a connection with another that allows the flow of love and compassion
- reduces the control of fear, vulnerability, pain, suffering
- allows cultivation of self-acceptance, love, forgiveness, surrender, gratitude, acceptance and equanimity
Healing is to suffering, What curing is to disease. Suffering is healed, rarely cured.
Healing is required in the path to wellness and well-being.
My favorite description of healing
Needs and feelings are fundamentally linked. Meeting people’s needs is certainly important, but it’s in the process of knowing that one’s feelings are being heard is where the healing occurs.
Higher level nurse caring practices involve healing
- nursing practices that thread authentic human connections into moments of disruption, loss and uncertainty … can have a healing effect
- nursing practices that create space … to dwell in thoughts, feelings, experiences … can have a healing effect
Nurses are central in peoples’ health, healing, and quality of living and dying