The Association for Spiritual Care in Israel
To ensure that all Israelis, experiencing a wide variety of life’s crises, can receive accessible, professional spiritual care.
The Association for Spiritual Care in Israel is the primary professional body overseeing the standards for care provision, working to develop service provision in the field, and bringing professionals together for peer learning and support.
Ongoing development of standards for training, clinical work, and supervision
Accreditation process for training programs
Providing professional certification for graduates found to be at the necessary level of competencies
Developing service provision in the field:
Working with governmental and nonprofit service providers to introduce and ensure ongoing spiritual care provision for populations with diverse needs
For example: patients and family members during illness and at the end of life; bereaved families; support for health care providers; elderly individuals in their homes and in nursing facilities
Platform for offering opportunities for continuing education
Ongoing groups for study and clinical supervision
Developing formal and informal relationships with parallel organizations around the world
We are taking the lead on advancing professional spiritual care. We are working to strengthen the public’s recognition of spiritual care as a vital service and to gain formal governmental recognition as a profession, in order to enable all of Israel’s diverse populations to benefit from high-level care. The Association for Spiritual Care in Israel operates with transparency, mutual respect, and openness. We aim to see spiritual care integrated widely into medical institutions and community-based services, freely available for all. We work to create a supportive learning community for spiritual care providers to strengthen them in their important and challenging work.
Main achievements and relevant experience
In the 8 years since its founding (2014), the Association’s main focus and most significant achievements have been in establishing a strong foundation for the profession, in order to ensure that everyone who receives spiritual care from a certified provider can be sure to receive the professional care they deserve. This has included establishing standards for training, competencies for clinical care provision, for clinical supervision, and a code of ethics. On that basis we created an accreditation process for training programs (there are 7 accredited sites today) and a certification process for spiritual care providers, to provide an additional external review for the graduates of the recognized training programs. Today there are 200 certified professionals, working in over 15 hospitals, in facilities for care of the elderly (elder care), and in bereavement support. Now that we have established this strong professional foundation, the Association has begun working to help expand access to spiritual care for diverse populations (going through) experiencing different kinds of crises. This past year, our (biggest) most significant project, funded by the New Israel Fund, was in providing spiritual care support for research studies assessing the need for spiritual care
medical staff, Jews and Arabs together, who do very (draining) demanding work in a variety of settings: a nursing home, an internal medicine department (HaEmek Medical Center), and the home hospice unit of Clalit-HMO's northern district. The workshops were facilitated by Hebrew and Arabic speaking spiritual care providers. Emphasis was given on respecting participants’ cultures and traditions, using texts, poems, and stories. We are working to help expand government-funded access to spiritual care for bereavement in order to (from) support (for) families after sudden loss (car accidents, suicide, murder), which has been funded for 5 years now, supporting families of fallen soldiers. The Association and its members have played key roles throughout the years in developing pilot projects as part of the integration of spiritual care into a variety of new settings, from mental health to community-based care for the elderly, and in reaching out to ensure that Arabs and Russian speakers enroll in the training programs, so that language and culture need not be barriers to receiving spiritual care. Mike Schultz, one of the project’s leading staff members, has led half a dozen evaluation and research studies assessing the need for spiritual care and its impact at the end of life