Celebrating over 20 years of changing the way we care

Professional Curriculum Overview

The Spiritual Care Programme’s approach and curriculum integrates research and best practice and has for 20 years trained professionals working in all fields of medicine, mental health, social services and education.

Our curriculum integrates research and best practice and has for 20 years trained professionals working in all fields of medicine, mental health, social services and education. We offer an integrated approach to the practical, emotional and spiritual dimension of care that goes beyond conventional medical models. Participants learn step-by-step methods how to apply contemplative methodologies appropriately in any professional care setting. They support healing and transformation of suffering, enhance the capacity to care and provide self care strategies and antidotes to burnout.

Compassion and Presence

  • Compassion and Presence
    A foundation training for professionals working in all areas of health care, social work and psychology to help caregivers build resilience, and enhance their care and communication. The Compassion and Presence training is offered as an online course, or workshop with an optional follow-up study group.
  • Study Groups
    To sustain the learning of the Compassion and Presence seminar, we also offer a 6-week follow up study group.
  • Cultivating Compassionate Presence
    8-week online course

Deep Listening

  • Deep Listening Intensive Training
    Specialised training programmes in communication to add on to an existing skills base for anyone who uses listening in their work, including teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers or managers.
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rosamund oliver

 

Can a simple act of listening help healthcare professionals bring more compassion into their care work? Ros Oliver on Deep Listening... Read full article >>

End-of-Life Care

  • Compassionate End-of-Life Care
    Skills training for professionals working in hospice and palliative care to build essential competencies to respond to patients nearing the end of their lives.
  • Mindfulness and Awareness in End-of-Life Care
    A five months certificate programme offered in partnership with Naropa University in the USA since 2003. This unique course combines on-line learning with face-to-face training and attracts professionals from around the world.
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kirsten deleo

 

What is the contemplative approach to end-of-life care? Kirsten DeLeo on this unique approach and the in-depth training course... Read full article >>

Research


Studies have been published showing the benefits of our training programmes focusing on end-of-life care. Participants report increased psychological and emotional well-being, greater awareness of their self-care needs and an increased capacity to engage in self-care strategies that reduce exhaustion and burnout. A study found significant improvements among healthcare providers working in palliative care in their sense of compassion for the dying and compassion for themselves. Moreover, participants reported increased positive attitudes towards their colleagues, and greater work satisfaction as well as decreased work-related stress, six months after participating in a three and a half day residential training.

The latest data of a growing body of research reveals that meditation can change the neural brain activity in measurable ways—and in ways that appear to be linked to care and compassion for others. Research also indicates that training in compassion can help people cope more easily with negative emotions and stress.

 

Prof Dr. Gian Borasio on the effects of spiritual care training for palliative care professionals.

Compassion and Presence

Applying the skills of mindfulness, compassion, and meditation in self-care and care for others

Responding effectively to the needs of patients remains an on-going professional and deeply personal challenge. Compassion and Presence offers the opportunity to learn resources that support you towards developing greater resilience in your life and work, and enhance the way you offer compassionate care. This training focuses on cultivating presence and mindfulness, and deepening your natural capacity for compassion, so that you can remain present, spacious and stable in the face of suffering.

The training introduces universal insights and contemplations from Sogyal Rinpoche's book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and demonstrates in practical ways how to appropriately integrate these practices of meditation and compassion into any medical setting and bring them into your own personal self-care.

Compassion and Presence is for all those who provide care in hospices, hospitals and care organisations, social work, health care education, and other allied health professions. Professionals and volunteers from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds find this training meets a wide experience of caregiving needs.

The training focuses on four core competencies:

  • Holding authentic presence and communication.
  • Deepening one's ability to extend compassion toward oneself and others.
  • Developing a personal understanding of the needs of clients and patients and how to be present with distress and pain.
  • Applying proven methods of self-care.

Methods of training

Presentations, discussion, writing, reflection, meditation, and interactive exercises for integrating learning.

Training Topics

  • Cultivating presence through meditation and mindfulness practice
  • Methods for deepening compassion
  • Training in the contemplative listening and communication model applying meditation and compassion methods
  • Compassionate self-care for developing resilience, alleviating stress, healing exhaustion and transforming challenging situations
  • Scientific research on the proven benefits of bringing training in meditation and compassion into care work.

Cultivating Compassionate Presence

Integrating Meditation in Care

An 8-week on-line training for professionals and trained volunteers working in healthcare, social and human services and education.

What patients and clients most need is to feel truly heard and cared for by those who care for them. Cultivating Compassionate Presence teaches professionals exactly this. Step-by-step, participants learn to apply and integrate contemplative tools that foster a greater sense of self-awareness and well-being, practical resources for preventing burnout and enhancing their professional skills and competencies.

Recent research shows on-going contemplative practice, such as mindfulness or meditation, can improve attention and memory, increase compassionate responses, reduce stress, increase confidence in challenging situations and renew enthusiasm. Join this on-line course and study together with like-minded professionals wherever you are, whether you are new to meditation or experienced.

Cultivating Compassionate Presence is a stand-alone course but can also be taken as part of our newly revised Certificate Program: Authentic Presence - A Certificate in Contemplative End-Of- Life Care for Healthcare Professionals.

Topic outline

Week 1 - The Heart of Care
Introduction to the Contemplative Approach & Working with our Intention

Week 2 - Cultivating Presence through Mindfulness and Meditation
Practical Application and Benefits of these Contemplative Tools

Week 3 - A Framework for Compassionate Presence
Sustaining a Compassionate Attitude

Week 4 - What is Suffering?
Reflecting on the Nature of Suffering in Modern Care Systems

Week 5 - Caring for Ourselves and Caring for Others
Finding the Right Balance – The Practice of Loving Kindness

Week 6 - Caring for Difficult Patients and Clients
Transforming Difficult Care Situations - Enhancing Empathy and Compassion

Week 7 - Being a Compassionate Presence
Simple Steps to Continue Practicing Compassionate Presence in Life and Work

Deep Listening Intensive

Deep Listening Training enables participants to truly listen by opening a deeper capacity to hear within themselves. Participants learn how to bring the inherent skills of embodied awareness, compassionate relationship and supportive presence directly into their listening. Following this method they can let go of ‘trying’ to listen, finding that this way of relating to others allows deeper listening to happen naturally, accompanied by greater clarity, understanding and empathy. Combining understandings from contemporary psychology with the methodology of Buddhist compassion training and meditation, this method can be added on to other professional training. This training is for anyone who uses listening in his or her work.

Deep Listening Training has been developed by Rosamund Oliver since 2003 and is currently presented in Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, UK and Israel.

This is an experiential training and the number of places is limited. Due to the demand for place, immediate booking is advised.

“I had to come back and do this training a second time because it was so good the first time. I say again that this is the best training I have ever done twice.”
Health Psychologist, Ireland
“I found experiencing the deep listening and feeling its power, its spaciousness and deep connection with the listener very beneficial.”
Niamh Brennan Hospital Chaplain
“This training provided me with the missing piece for my work for which I have been searching for so long.”
Psychotherapist, Germany

Compassionate End-of-Life Care

Cultivating mindful awareness and compassion in care for the terminally ill: a training intensive in the contemplative approach

This training intensive builds essential competencies for providing compassionate service to the terminally ill and their families. Inspired by Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, it offers hands-on experience in the supportive methods of meditation, mindfulness and compassion and their practical application and benefits in hospice and palliative care. These methods can strengthen resilience, care and communication.

The intensive focuses on four core competencies:

  1. sustaining authentic presence and practising self-awareness
  2. establishing and maintaining genuine and effective communication with patients, clients and families
  3. recognising and addressing emotional, psycho-social and spiritual care needs
  4. responding to challenges of difficult care situations and decision-making

Training topics include:

  • deepening self-awareness and managing difficult emotions through mindfulness and meditation
  • strengthening resilience and enhancing empathy and compassion as pathways to heal and prevent burnout
  • speaking about about dying and death with the patient or client
  • helping patients and clients find new meaning, sources of strength, and ways to make a genuine connection with their families
  • facilitating the process of healing relationships, resolving unfinished business, and saying goodbye
  • creating a peaceful environment for dying

Who is this training for?

For professionals and trained volunteers working in medicine, social services and allied-health fields who seek to enhance clinical skills and expand their specialisation in end-of-life care.

Methodologies

The training uses contemplative practices, personal reflection, group exercises, discussion and short talks to move from caring for oneself to caring for others.