Oxford Centre for Spirituality & Well-being (OCSW)


Oxford Centre for Spirituality & Well-Being (OCSW)

Developing Psycho-Spiritual Wellbeing in Health Care

Centre Director:  Dr Guy Harrison

The vision for the Centre is grounded in the understanding that in order for people to flourish and to recover well, care needs to be person centred and holistic; people need to experience that it is not only the symptoms of their illness that are being addressed but that they are being cared for with compassion and respect as a person and that includes their spiritual and religious needs.

Qualitative research amongst both mental and community health care patients1 has produced significant evidence that spirituality in the form of psycho-spiritual care can be a source of support, inspiration, hope and recovery2..  The research evidence suggests that whilst there is a developing interest in the UK and elsewhere in incorporating spiritual understandings within health care practice, in reality there is a gap between theory and practice. 

The work of the newly established Centre for Spirituality and Wellbeing focuses on the development and dissemination of a more integrated and holistic model of care.  Its purpose is to generate practise-based evidence of the benefits of an integrated approach to care through research which will underpin the development of training for staff so that they are equipped and supported in the provision of spiritual care.

Two years funding from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust for a 0.5 wte Project Development Officer has recently been granted and an application for grant funding for a Research Fellow in Psycho-spiritual Care is currently being prepared.  In addition to a multi-disciplinary symposium that was held in March 2016 the Centre has run three series of monthly workshops on Psycho-spiritual care. 

1 For example, Pargament, K. (2011). Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred. Guilford Press; Nolan, S (2011). Spiritual Care at the End of Life: The Chaplain as a 'Hopeful Presence'. Jessica Kingsley.   

2 National Spirituality and Mental Health Forum (2011);  Knowing our own Minds (1997) ; Strategies for Living (2000); Somerset Spirituality Project (2002); One Chance to Get it Right’ End of Life Care Strategy (2014).