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 z1WJC5 An Intervention to Address Religious Meaning-Making Recording
Presented by George Fitchett PhD BCC
and Sr. Patricia Murphy PhD BCC

60 minutes
1 CE hour, plus reading/study hours - Methodology 8, Research

$62/member; $98/nonmember
Item Number: WebRWJC5
Shipping Weight: 0lbs. 0oz.
Price: $98.00
This Webinar Journal Club series is designed to help chaplains with no prior experience learn to read and understand research. In addition, it will introduce research-literate chaplains to important research about meaning-making in the face of illness.

While there is a common theme for all the research articles in the series, each webinar will be complete in itself, so participants may register for one, several or all sessions.

When you purchase this webinar recording, you will receive a PDF file with links to watch the recording and access supplemental materials directly from our website. You'll be able to hear and see the complete presentation, including Q&A with the audience.

Session Content

Session 5, May 8, 2012: In Intervention to Address Religious Meaning-Making An important challenge for chaplains is to develop evidence of the beneficial effects of our care. Colleagues in psychology have developed and tested several group-based spiritual interventions. The paper we will discuss this month reports a small clinical trial of Building Spiritual Strength, an eight-session intervention designed to address religious struggle and enhance religious meaning-making for people who have experienced trauma. Chaplains might find some of the interventions used in this study relevant for their professional practice. The study also provides a good example of how to conduct and write up a clinical trial.

1. Clinical Focus: Veterans exposed to trauma

2. Study Methods/Design: Experimental design

3. Reference: Harris JI, Erbes CR, Engdahl BE, Thuras P, Murray-Swank N, Grace D, Ogden H, Olson RH, Winskowski AM, Bacon R, Malec C, Campion K, Le T. "The Effectiveness of a Trauma-Focused Spiritually Integrated Intervention for Veterans Exposed to Trauma" Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2011 Apr;67(4):425-38.

4. To read the article abstract, go to:

Other Webinar Journal Club sessions include:

Session 1: Parent's Use of Religion to Make Meaning of a Child's Diagnosis

Session 2: Spiritual Screening - Using Just One Question

Session 3: Focusing on Patients' Dignity at the End of Life

Session 4: In Intervention to Address Religious Meaning-Making


The Webinar Journal Club has two aims, one substantive and one methodological.

The substantive aim is to deepen chaplains' understanding of the process of meaning-making in the face of illness, injury and loss, and the role of religion and spirituality in the meaning-making process. "Religious and spiritual beliefs provide patients with a framework for ascribing meaning to illness and answers to existential questions" (Dr. Jimmie Holland, 1999). This quote is illustrative of a rich body of theory and research that is available to further chaplains' understandings of how people do, or do not, use religion and spirituality to find meaning in the face of illness and injury - their own or that of loved ones. The five articles selected for the 2011-2012 Webinar Journal Club will introduce chaplains to important studies about religion/spirituality and finding meaning, and help them identify implications of this research for their spiritual care.

The methodological aim is to help chaplains develop and maintain research literacy. The five articles in the series illustrate diverse study designs (qualitative and quantitative research, observational and experimental designs). We will review the major sections of a research report and provide an outline to help participants create their own summaries of each study that is discussed. The series begins with articles using simple statistics. Later articles use somewhat more sophisticated models. Throughout the series we will give special attention to the interpretation of statistical results.


George Fitchett PhD BCC is an associate professor and the director of research in the Department of Religion, Health, and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL. He has been a board certified chaplain (Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc.) and pastoral supervisor (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) for over 25 years. His book, Assessing Spiritual Needs (Academic Renewal Press, 2002), is a widely used text in clinical and academic training programs.

Since 1990, Fitchett has been involved in research examining the relationship between religion and health in a variety of community and clinical populations. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, and published in pastoral, medical, and psychological journals. In 2006, he received the Anton Boisen Professional Service Award from APC.

Sr. Patricia Murphy PhD BCC has a doctorate degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD, and a master's in Christian spirituality from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. She is an associate professor, and has taught research and statistics, as well as counseling, for many years at Rush University Medical Center, College of Health Sciences, Chicago, IL. She also is the chaplain for the inpatient psychiatry units at Rush.

Murphy's research has examined the role of religious beliefs in adults diagnosed with depression. To learn more about her own work and her work with George Fitchett, go to Research in Religion, Health & Human Values on the Rush website.