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Journal of Holistic Healthcare

  Issue 12.3 - Winter 2015

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  Issue 12.2 - Summer 2015

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  Issue 12.1 - Spring 2015

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  Issue 11.3 - Winter 2014/15

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  Issue 11.2 - Autumn 2014

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  Issue 11.1 - Spring 2014

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  Issue 10.3 - Winter 2013
Wisdom in Medicine

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  Issue 10.2 - Autumn 2013
Medicine - craft or industry?

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  Issue 10.1 - Spring 2013
The NHS - who cares?

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  Issue 9.3 - December 2012
Holistic Learning

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  Issue 9.2 - August 2012
Words in Medicine

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  Issue 9.1 - May 2012
Healthy Ageing. Perspectives on maintianing health in later life.

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  Issue 8.3 - December 2011
Compassion and empathy in healthcare. This issue looks at education, practice, and benefits of empathy and compassion; healthcare's missing dimension.

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  Issue 8.2 - August 2011
Climate change will impact human health. This issue examines the issues, extends our understanding and considers what steps can be taken by the health service.

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  Issue 8.1 - May 2011
The importance of talking about dying and preparing for the end of life is not widely understood. Death tends to be a taboo subject. The contributors to this edition share their insights of palliative care and end of life CAM.

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2011-2010 | 2009-2008 | 2007-2006 | 2005-2004


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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 9.3 - December 2012 

The story of my illness
Jess Woodley
Second year medical student at the University of Southampton

Caring, curing, coping and collaboration: an essential recipe for medical education
Jeremy Swayne Royal College of Practitioners and Faculty of Homeopathy

During my first seven years in general practice I came to recognise the need for a fuller understanding of the dynamics of illness and healing in individual patients. Building on psychological insights, and beginning to perceive the spiritual dimension of some patients’ problems, I was becoming aware of a divergence between the aims and methods of the biomedical model and the need for another kind of healing, or wholeness.To explore these issues by spending more time with fewer patients, I set up a new practice providing routine 15-minute appointments. My subsequent encounter with homeopathy in 1978 introduced another useful therapeutic modality. From 1983 I used homeopathy increasingly as a vehicle for a holistic approach to medicine, and was Dean of the Faculty of Homeopathy from 1997–2003. I was ordained in the Church of England in 2000, and worked part-time as a parish priest. Exploring the relationship between medicine and healing, and science and theology, is a continuing ‘project. My book, Remodelling Medicine, was published in January by Saltire Books.

Practising medicine holistically. Training for third year medical students
Craig Brown

I have had an interest and passion for promoting a holistic approach in medical care throughout my career as a general practitioner. I have also been aware of the detrimental affect burnout can have on practitioners themselves and the care of their patients. I had an opportunity in 2006 to run a student selected component (SSC) module at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and I have facilitated 17 modules to date.

Planning, reform and the need for live, human sacrifices. Hegemony and homogeny as symbols of progress
David Zigmond GP

I have spent most of my four decades in the NHS as a singlehanded GP and part-time psychiatrist. I was always interested in the subtle shifts and balances required between opposites, to make our better understandings and interventions. Central to these is the general truth of the species (‘science’) v the particular variation of the individual (‘art’). As electronic technology makes mass management of communications and information more efficient, I fear the loss of creative diversity to increasingly standardised, anonymised procedures, professionals and premises. I fear the loss of art in medicine and heart in practice.

Still point – turning world: The dialogues


Arnold Desser Member of the Academy of Medical Educators; Education Consultant to the London Deanery of Postgraduate Medical Education
Sarah Eagger Honorary senior clinical lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Imperial College: consultant psychiatrist for older adults
Craig Brown Chair, British Holistic Medical Association; trustee, Janki Foundation

Spirituality as self-care in medical practice
Audrey Banks Principle GP, Nairn Healthcare Group, Nairn, Scotland, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow, NHS Centre for Integrative Care, Glasgow, Scotland
David Peters Clinical Director, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminister; Editor-in-Chief, JHH

Teaching practitioners about spirituality
Linda Ross Senior Lecturer, Department of Professional Education and Service Delivery, University of Glamorgan
Janice Clarke Senior Lecturer, Allied Health Sciences, Institute of Health and Society, Worcester

Near-death experiences: lessons for medicine
Peter Fennick Consultant neuropsychiatrist and neuropsychologist, Maudsley & John Radcliffe Hospitals, London
Pim van Lommel Cardiologist and near-death researcher

End of life care: essentially spiritual?
Nannette Jackson Counsellor, NLP practitioner and clinical hypnotherapist
Catherine Zollman Lead Doctor, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, Bristol

Energy medicine: method or metaphor?
Jean Watson Distinguished Professor Emerita & Dean Emerita, University of Colorado, Denver
Albrecht Hempel Junior Professor for Internal Medicine and Cardiology, ChariteĢ University of Berlin; Founder of the Centre of Energy and Environmental Medicine

Psychosis and spirituality
Isabel Clarke Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Larry Culliford Retired consultant psychiatrist

Compassionate care needs radical thinking
Andy Bradley Founding Director, Frameworks 4 Change
David Reilly National Clinical Lead for Integrative Care, Scottish Government; Consultant Physician, NHS Centre for Integrative Care

People-powered health – co-creating a new story of health
Anna Betz Co-founder, School of Commoning; Medical herbalist; Lead practitioner in dementia

My 30 years of experience working in the public and private sector in health and social care, together with my passion for creating a better world, drew me to the commons movement, where individual, communal, organisational, and social evolution meet. My expertise and passion for building sustainable communities inspire me to co-create with other commoners the ‘commons of health and wellbeing’. I have experience as a workshop leader of living medicine which aims to inspire people to reclaim responsibility for their health through the use of herbs and food.

Introducing the Self Care Library
David Peters Clinical Director, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminister; Editor-in-Chief, JHH
Karen Pilkington Senior Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster

As long as I have been in medical practice I have been interested in what people can do for themselves to get well and stay that way; and what it is that helps patients cope with long-term conditions. I’m sure this interest was sharpened by having a longish struggle to get over Hepatitis A in the early 1970s. For those who can afford them, complementary therapies are often self-chosen pieces in their self-care jigsaw.As the NHS shrinks, I have no doubt that self-care will be a fast-growing concern.
David Peters

Working as a specialist clinical pharmacist allowed me to clearly see the advances being made in acute health care. Moving into researching complementary therapies and, more recently, self-care has made me aware of how many people are living with chronic health problems to which they have not yet found a solution.While self-care decision- making is often made on the basis of other people’s experiences, giving people access to the research that has been done may help inform the choices they make.
Karen Pilkington

Having a big heart Messages from the subtext
William House Retired GP


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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 9.2 - August 2012 

The mystery never leaves you alone
John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Perspectives on Pain
John Bell Resource Worker, The Iona Community

Around five minutes before I spoke at a conference in Cheltenham called Medicine Unboxed, it suddenly dawned on me that if the faith communities have anything to offer secular society, it is a vocabulary for pain.The revelation hit me with unexpected force and changed my perspectives on the age-old couplets of good and evil, success and failure, sickness and health. I notice, particularly in the USA, increasing personal denial of the need to grieve, and corporate myopia as regards the national underbelly of poverty and disease.There is no shortage of statistical data, but there are insufficient resources to articulate the pain of being.

Writing for wellbeing and health: some personal reflections
Nigel Gibbons Counsellor

I’m a counsellor with a private practice where I use writing therapeutically, and I facilitate creative writing workshops for wellbeing and health.As a tutor on Metanoia and Middlesex University’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, I am part of the development of new practitioners in the field, and attempting to map out the principles and practice that underlie it. I have worked with GP groups, medical humanities students, in a GP’s surgery, and with numerous individuals and groups in Bristol.

A poet in every practice – the value of words in primary care
Simon Opher GP
Sue Mayfield Writer

I am a GP in Dursley, Gloucestershire and have worked with artists in residence for more than 10 years. I have reluctantly become involved with commissioning healthcare locally but my real passion within medicine lies in frequent attenders and how we can demedicalise the population from their addiction with healthcare. I have written a thriller, as yet unpublished, play cricket and love what people now call wild swimming. Simon Opher

I have written eight novels for young adults and a number of works of non-fiction. As well as being part of the Artlift team I have been Writer in Residence at Sue Ryder Hospice, Cheltenham, Bath RUH and Musgrove Park Hospital,Taunton. I facilitate creative writing at Cheltenham Maggie’s Centre and have recently finished a novel for adults.
Sue Mayfield

Language, story and health
Fiona Hamilton Writer, Facilitator,Tutor

Creative writing can offer exceptional resources for health promotion and holistic care. As a writer of poetry and prose, I facilitate one-to-one and group sessions in the NHS and complementary healthcare settings and teach medical students. Language is at the heart of perception. Reflective writing – sometimes combined with art – gives people a chance to reconsider and articulate in new ways. I know from personal experience and from observation of participants that writing provides important therapeutic possibilities and I am researching theory in related fields to examine and communicate how the process works.

The Biscuit Tin
Iain MacRitchie Chaplain, NHS Highland
Grace Main Occupational therapist, NHS Highland
Maggie Wallace Speech and language therapist, NHS Highland

I am a mental health and learning disability chaplain who has worked in NHS Highland for the last 15 years. I have worked as a healthcare chaplain, mainly at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, which is the largest acute care hospital in Highland region, then at New Craigs Hospital, NHS Highland’s main mental healthcare facility. My special interests have included developing models of chaplaincy and spiritual care which are suited to the changing spiritual needs of our times, and looking for ways in which chaplains can better support and enable all staff in the delivery of spiritual care and in the use of the chaplaincy services. My current research interest is in the place of values and beliefs within a healthcare team.
Iain MacRitchie

I am an occupational therapist who maintains a strong belief that one of the main pathways to good, well-balanced health is through participation in practical, meaningful and above all rewarding activities. Creative activities provide people with the opportunity to communicate with others as well as themselves, have fun, be allowed to use their imagination and creativity and explore the use of activity to influence their mood. Creative writing is a new treatment medium for me and The Biscuit Tin has provided me with another tool to have in my own toolbox for good health.
Grace Main

Writing is a practice of personal value to me, and it has been wonderful to take this into the arena of work as a tool of healing and creativity. I think of poetry writing like a fountain, allowing life to be channelled through this medium, then being blessed by it as it showers me and others. Saki Santorelli, in his book Heal Thy Self, talks about ‘engaging with the intimacy of suffering – our own and those who seek our care’.1 This is what matters in my life as a therapist.
Maggie Wallace

Creative writing at Maggie’s cancer care centres
Larry Butler Poet, gardener and researcher
Valerie Gillies Writer
Margot Henderson Poet and storyteller
Jayne Wilding Poet and writing facilitator

I’ve been trying to write poetry since I first began to read at the age of 18 – up till then I drifted through school cheating to get by. After learning to read, my first writing was slogans and protests songs for the civil rights and peace movement.Years later in London while working as a dramatherapist in a learning disability centre, I discovered that I am dyslexic.
Larry Butler

I began to lead expressive writing workshops in the 1990s to enhance patients’ lives. Everything I observed at that time became more immediate during my own experiences as a cancer patient in 1998. I began to use writing to transform these experiences into life-giving new work, and set out on journeys in search of healing locations, folklore and traditions, leading me to healing wells and springs. Becoming a guide to these lets me use outreach workshops to encourage other people to focus on image and metaphor: a real ‘healing fountain’ of words.
Valerie Gillies

I am a poet and storyteller of Scots Irish origins. I have been working as a community artist for the last 20 years, devising and delivering community arts projects in diverse settings, woodlands and quarries, galleries and museums, hospitals and homeless shelters. I have been Storytelling Fellow for Aberdeen and Writer in Residence for Cromarty Arts Trust.
Margot Henderson

The week that I was about to sit final exams for a degree in psychology, my younger brother was found dead. One of the strategies I used to cope with this loss was to write a journal. I am especially interested in the impact that expressive writing and journal work can have on people’s health and wellbeing. I have recently been involved in interdisciplinary discussions at St Andrews University about the use of writing as a way of coping with bereavement.
Jayne Wilding

Tears of joy, tears of sorrow
Reanne Jones Medical student

I am studying medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and live on the Isle of Man with my parents and older brother.When I am not studying I spend my time at the gym, probably not working out as much as I should, but preferring swimming and the whirlpool! I love listening to music and am the family DJ – regularly updating my parents’ music playlists and keeping them with it. I love to bake ‘melt in the middle’ chocolate puddings and I am a big rugby fan. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a doctor and I am enjoying every moment of that journey.

Everybody’s talking at me - The value of poetry in medical contexts
Karen Hayes Poet

I am a poet and librettist specialising in work with marginalised groups. I am currently under commission to write a short opera film for Welsh National Opera and a one act opera and song cycle for the Three Choirs Festival 2013 on the subject of dementia. This article is about words, specifically poetry. I want to demonstrate that what people say, the commonplace as well as the profound, has a poetic resonance and that by allowing their words to exist in the realm of the poetic we are able to hear the greater human significance behind the individual detail.The making of a piece of poetry within a health context is a collaborative act and involves us listening to what people are really saying about themselves.

We are not human beings in medicine any more
A study of creative writing in the general practitioner consultation

Patricia Ferguson Novelist
William House GP researcher
Penny Nettelfield Research nurse

I trained as a nurse and midwife long ago, and have published six novels and a collection of short stories. Some of my stories have also been broadcast on Radio 4. My latest book, The Midwife’s Daughter, will be out at the end of September.
Patricia Ferguson

I am now a recently retired GP and vice-chair of the British Holistic Medical Association. I have been interested in the interface of medicine and the arts for many years, and more recently ways in which the arts, action research and complexity can be used to build communities.
William House

I have worked on health-related research projects since 1995. I currently work as a practice nurse and for nine years combined that role with that of research nurse working with William House. I am particularly interested in literature and the stories we tell about ourselves and others.
Penny Nettelfield


Eric – diagnosis may be sometimes necessary; it is rarely sufficient
David Zigmond

I did my medical training in the 1960s. I have now worked as an NHS practitioner for more than 40 years: as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and GP. The length and breadth of this work has led to my guiding maxim: ‘Healthcare is a humanity guided by science’. Such subtle simplicity seems increasingly homeless and at risk. My recent writings and efforts stand against the tide.

Health and Social Care Act 2012... and how to get on the gravy train
William House Retired GP


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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 9.1 - May 2012 

Healthy ageing – in need of radical solutions
Mike Dixon GP; Chair, College of Medicine

Making health services fit for our ageing population
What else do we need to do?

David Oliver National Clinical Director for Older People’s Services;Visiting Professor, School of Community and Health Sciences, City University

I combine my role as NCD for older people’s services with a very hands-on clinical job as a consultant physician in geriatric and general internal medicine at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. This ensures I remain in touch with the realities of frontline practice and helps me deliver my civil service role and retain clinical credibility. I remain an active researcher, teacher and lecturer on subjects such as falls and bone health, health services for older people, age discrimination and healthcare ethics and law.

David Telomerase and the ageing process
David Peters Editor in chief, JHH

As a doctor working with pain- and stress-related problems I witness the mind–body connection every day, and I am excited to see how increasingly healthcare is harnessing this astonishing potential for healing. I have always wondered how unhappiness gets into the cells, and why exercise, meditation and a healthy diet impact so powerfully on mood and morbidity. The Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr Elizabeth Blackburn and her colleagues explains how these simple forms of self-care reach into the genetic matrix to alter the cellular ageing processes.

Healthy ageing: the need to think and act differently
Chris Drinkwater President and Public Health Lead, NHS Alliance

Ever since dabbling with a degree in social anthropology I have had an interest in the social determinants of health.This was reinforced by taking on a singlehanded inner city practice in Newcastle in the late 1970s and by an extensive community consultation in the early 1990s that led to the establishment of one of the first healthy living centres, the West End Health Resource Centre, now HealthWORKS Newcastle with three bases and over 70 staff. Developing and nurturing local assets and building social capital and social cohesion around reciprocity and giving should be a critical part of funding or commissioning services for healthy ageing.

Extending healthy life years in Europe – an alternative approach
Delia MethCohn Editorial Director, CEMEA, Economist Intelligence Unit

In many ways, the burning healthcare issues differ widely across Europe, the Gulf States and Africa – as do the resources available to tackle them. But there is at least one common theme: the explosion of chronic diseases and the need to create health systems that focus on forestalling their progress rather than curing them in the later stages. Getting prevention and early diagnosis right is vital in Africa to prevent the double burden of chronic and infectious diseases from wiping out the steady progress made over the last few years. But it’s also crucial in Europe to ensure that ageing means an increase in healthy life years.

Mind, body and spirit – optimising healthy ageing
A personal view

Chris Manning Mental health and wellbeing lead, College of Medicine

As a practising GP, I experienced the first episode of my version of major depression in 1986 as an all-encompassing event. Since then I have striven to understand my own connectedness and the time-expired thinking and processes that continue to mean that physical and mental matters and services are kept separate, coupled with the fallacy that ‘mind’ equates solely to ‘brain’ and its myriad functions.The evidence for the mind and emotional intelligence being embodied and the body being enminded have informed my work as founder-CEO of Primhe (Primary Care Mental Health and Education), Chairman of Depression Alliance, member of the National Mental Health Taskforce and now as Director of UPstream Healthcare Ltd and mental health lead at the College of Medicine.

An ageing population requires radical changes to nursing education and practice
Donna Kinnair Chief Nurse, south east London cluster

I am a nurse, sometimes a patient but most importantly someone who keeps a watch on the health service and the care it delivers to patients.We can always improve the care we offer but to do so we need to create an environment in which individual clinicians have the space and capacity to deliver good care. Short-term gimmicks do nothing to deliver sustained good care, which requires us valuing our older people and planning for the care required.This isn’t coloured trays and protected mealtimes unless we have staff to help with eating and drinking.

Ahead of the game: Anticipating and meeting the needs of an ageing population
David Beales Retired GP with a special interest in behavioural and elderly care
Alistair Tulloch Retired GP with a special interest in care of the vulnerable elderly
Helen Cooke National Co-ordinator for Innovations Network, College of Medicine

My interest in anticipatory care was stimulated when working both as partner in general practice and as acting consultant geriatrician. I was able to see how early diagnosis and care planning for older people might prevent hospital admission. In a randomised controlled trial I compared an anticipatory programme for people over 75 years in my practice with usual care and a control group. David Beales

My interest in preventive care of the elderly began in 1972 when I developed a care programme with a research nurse and evaluated it through a randomised controlled trial. This did not improve health but it kept the patients more active and independent for longer so that they spent less time in institutional care. Care of the elderly is always the Cinderella subject in medicine. Alistair Tulloch

I work as an integrative health advisor and run a self-care resource for people living with chronic illness and stress. I am the national co-ordinator of the College of Medicine’s innovations network and specialist advisor to the Selfcare Library.The innovations network highlights living examples of whole person healthcare, representing innovation at its best. Helen Cooke

Claire Creating a physical and social environment that enables and promotes healthy ageing
Brian Fisher GP
Hazel Stuteley Programme director C2, Peninsula Medical School

As a GP I have always tried to shift the balance of power towards the patient and the citizen. It began as (and still is) an ideological and political position combating paternalism and unjustified control. More recently, a more egalitarian balance has been shown to benefit patients and the NHS alike. I came across community development when I first became a GP in 1976 and I have been championing it ever since. Brian Fisher

I was first introduced to health inequalities in 1968, as a teenage student nurse at King’s College Hospital. Rather like the midwife in the Sunday evening BBC series, I cycled around Lewisham with a health visitor and saw for myself the startling contrast in health status between the families living at the bottom of the hill, and those at the top of the hill in Blackheath. The arbitrary unfairness of it had a great impact and shaped my career for the next 40 years. Hazel Stuteley

Healthy ageing award 2012
Helen Cooke National Co-ordinator for Innovations Network, College of Medicine

When I’m 64
William House GP

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 8.2 - August 2011

Compassion in healthcare - The missing dimension of healthcare reform?
Robin Youngson Anaesthetist, Founder of Hearts in Healthcare

As an engineer, turned anaesthetist, I was interested in how the different parts of a hospital worked as a system. When examined from the patient’s perspective I found unbelievable duplication, disco-ordination and haphazard service. But when our daughter broke her neck and endured three month’s spinal traction on an acute ward, I finally understood how a system focused on clinical care can profoundly neglect the basic human needs of patients.

Seeing the person in the patient: The King’s Fund Point of Care Programme
Joanna Goodrich, Senior Researcher/Programme Manager,The Point of Care Programme,The King’s Fund

Jocelyn Cornwell, Director,The Point of Care Programme,The King’s Fund

I came to The King’s Fund from the Multiple Sclerosis Society to work on the Point of Care programme. I know from my own and others’ experience in hospital what a difference it makes to be cared for with kindness. The Point of Care programme set out to discover why this doesn’t always happen and how to improve care through research and action. I have a background in public health and health promotion research. Joanna Goodrich

I founded The Point of Care programme with the aim of developing a whole systems approach to improving the experiences of staff and patients in acute hospitals. Two events prompted me to seek support from The Kings Fund: my nephew sustained life-changing, catastrophic and completely avoidable harm while he was being born, and the elderly mothers of two friends had awful experiences of care in hospitals in different parts of the country. I trained as a medical sociologist, and spent many years in or close to the NHS, as a researcher, a manager and then in regulation. Jocelyn Cornwell

Five executive follies - How commodification imperils compassion in personal healthcare
David Zigmond, Physician in Psychological Medicine, Imperial College; Principal GP, Bermondsey, London

I am now into my fifth decade as a frontline NHS medical practitioner. I have trained and worked as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and GP: an amalgam of education and occupation probably now impossible. The earlier times of my career were more receptive to my interests of how to best choreograph and balance art and science in our approaches to others. The current culture of quantification-at-all-costs and ‘scientific’ management has overestimated the science and impoverished the art. My efforts seem now more beleaguered, yet more important.

Compassionate healthcare: is empathy the key?
David Blane, Clinical Academic Fellow
Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care Research
Section of General Practice and Primary Care, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow

I was brought up in Glasgow and Nairobi, completing my vocational GP training in August 2010, and then spent a year as NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Health Inequality Fellow. I firmly believe that enhancing empathy in all our interactions is central to wellbeing. David Blane

I studied medicine at Bristol University as a mature student, after a successful career in basic research in nutrition. I then worked as a volunteer doctor with the Tibetan community in North India in 1996 and in the aboriginal settlement on Palm Island, Australia in 1997. I developed an interest in mindfulness and the use of empathy in the consultation, and have since researched and written extensively in this area. Stewart Mercer

The role of compassion in recovery - A neurobiological account
Alastair Dobbin GP, Edinburgh; Director,The Foundation for Positive Mental Health

I worked in London and Australia before becoming a full time GP in Edinburgh where I became interested in hypnotherapy.Along with Edinburgh University and Imperial College London I researched the impact clinical hypnotherapy had on patient health in primary care, from which I developed the idea of using positive mental training to treat depression. Since then I have conducted research into positive mental training in a general practice setting and am currently researching the effects of positive reappraisal with McGill University, Montreal.

Compassionate care: the theory and the reality
Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board; Clinical Lead, Open Minds Alliance Community Interest Company
Paul Gilbert, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Derbyshire Health Care NHS Foundation Trust

I am interested in the science of compassion, and how organisations can best support their workforce to facilitate compassionate care. I believe practitioners secure better outcomes if they collaborate with patients and their families/carers as co-facilitators of healing. I developed the Connecting with People training to reduce stigma, promote compassion and develop a common language and understanding between those experiencing suicidal thoughts and those trying to help them. I believe that we all have a role in the paradigm shift of suicide mitigation. Alys Cole-King

I have had a long interest in building inner compassionate capacities for people with high shame and self-critical problems. With, and for, these patients I developed compassion-focused therapy that integrates western insights on the role of attachment and affiliative behaviour with western and eastern meditation and image practices. This has led to a specific model of compassion that articulates the core attributes needed to engage with, and become attentive to, ‘suffering’ and the skills associated with the alleviation of suffering. This model is now applicable to a wide range of settings including personal therapy, relationship-building and organisational process. The model can help to identify where compassion can become problematic particularly when systems think about how to move from a threat-focused to a compassion-focused organisation. Paul Gilbert

Introducing and implementing a compassionate care elective for medical students in Crete
Christos Lionis, Professor, Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Crete
Sue Shea, Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Crete; School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich
Adelais Markaki, Department of Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Crete

I have been engaged in family practice research for many years and have recognised the need to teach compassionate care as an urgent issue.Together with Sue Shea we conceived the idea of introducing a compassionate care elective into the medical curriculum of the University of Crete.We have written this article to communicate and discuss the experiences gained on Crete at a time when compassion in health care in Greece and in many countries in Europe is needed more than ever. Christos Lionis

My background is in psychology, working mainly in the field of diabetes care in both Greece and the UK. It was very pleasing to experience so many students attending this course, and an honour to share our experiences in this journal. Sue Shea

As a community health nurse, I believe strongly in developing new academia/community partnerships and in the value of immersing medical students, as early as possible, in joint interdisciplinary teamwork experiences. As a medical anthropologist, I am intrigued by how compassion is interpreted and transformed in particular cultural or professional contexts, such as within the medical profession. Adelais Markaki

Compassion in the nursing curriculum: making it more explicit
Elizabeth Adamson, Lecturer,Teaching Fellow, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University
Belinda Dewar, Senior Nurse, Leadership in Compassionate Care Programme, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University

Working with student nurses has taught me that the majority join the profession because they genuinely want to care compassionately but this does not mean that they know what this looks like in practice. I wanted to share with students what patients and relatives say about their experiences of care, to encourage them to ask what is most important to patients, and to respond to them in a compassionate way whatever the circumstances. Liz Adamson

In my role as a senior nurse in compassionate care I work closely with learning both in clinical practice and in education.We have been using the approach of appreciative inquiry on the leadership in compassionate care programme and it has been a privilege to work with students, staff, patients and families to hear their stories of when things have worked well in caregiving. I have had the opportunity to develop a model of compassionate relationship-centred care as part of my PhD. I look forward to testing the model further across practice and education. Belinda Dewar

Excellence in compassionate nursing care: leading the change
Claire Chambers, Leader of the SCPHN* and CSP** programmes, Faculty of Health and Life Science, Oxford Brookes University
Elaine Ryder, Associate lecturer on the SCPHN* and CSP** programmes and formerly leader of the CSP programmes, Oxford Brookes University
*Specialist Community Public Health Nursing ** Community Specialist Practice

As community and public health nursing lecturers it was our patients, clients and students who motivated us. Our discussions around values in health care eventually resulted in our first book Compassion and caring in nursing. 1 Our forthcoming book Excellence in compassionate nursing care: Leading the change, 2 which encourages nurses at all levels to become change agents who can lead on excellence and compassionate care, explores the principles discussed in this article in greater depth.

The doctor, the patient and compassion
Rhona Knight, Portfolio GP, Clinical Lead RCGP Health for Healthcare Professionals Pilot Programme

As both doctor and patient I know that being and dealing with the doctor-patient is difficult. Higher order consultation skills are needed. The boundary issues are more complicated. As a colleague, I know we have corridor consultations, and use informal chats with medical friends to test out what we should do. As a mentor and appraiser, I am faced with the fact that health issues do impact on patient care, and, increasingly, how the stresses on doctors delivering patient care can compromise health.To be compassionate carers of our patients, we need to compassionately care for ourselves and our profession.

A spiritual approach to practising compassion
Craig Brown GP, BHMA trustee chair

I recently retired after 30 years as a full-time general practitioner in West Sussex. I still do locums, surgeries and teach medical students about holistic healthcare. I have been a member on the British Holistic Medical Association since shortly after it was founded. I trained as a spiritual healer and was President of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers from 1997–2001. My passion is to bring compassionate holistic care into all aspects of medicine.

The need for new leadership
Aidan Halligan, Director of Education, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust

Since the inception of the NHS in 1948, all public inquiries have invariably concluded that the root cause of the catastrophic clinical care investigated was people and relationships with a particular emphasis on leadership, teamworking and communication, all slightly out of reach or nebulous ‘nice to do’ but popularly considered unessential dimensions of healthcare delivery.I believe strongly that the difference between success and failure for the current White Paper strategy rests in understanding the criticality and centrality of leadership and teamwork.Working with the armed services has taught us so much that is comfortably transferable to health service delivery.

Reaching a consensus in defining and moving forward with the science and art of compassion in healthcare- Report from symposium held at Greenwich University, June 2011
Sue Shea,* Robin Wynyard,* Elizabeth West,* Christos Lionis**
* School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich, UK
** Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete

Coming from a background in psychology, I have worked in the area of healthcare for many years, mainly in the field of diabetes, in Greece and the UK. Having witnessed and read many negative reports on attention to basic needs and humanity in healthcare, I was highly motivated to take an active role in the organisation of a symposium which would allow participants to exchange ideas and experiences. I hope that the symposium will contribute to work that is currently underway in restoring compassion to healthcare, and it is a pleasure to share our experience. Sue Shea

I learnt about the lack of compassion in healthcare in having to deal alone with two chronically ill parents, one of whom died in considerable pain. At this time, I felt lonely and isolated and longed for a few kind words from the healthcare profession. I was keen to contribute and assist Sue in organising the symposium as I viewed this as an ideal setting to express the deep emotional misgivings I have about the lack of compassion in healthcare as it exists in England today. Robin Wynyard

I am Director of Research at the School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich with a background in nursing and sociology. I have a keen interest in patient outcomes and experiences and in increasing patients’ experience of compassion in healthcare organisations. It was a welcome opportunity, to support the symposium reported upon here. Elizabeth West

I am Professor of General Practice at the University of Crete, Greece with a strong interest in improving patient care. Having worked with Sue on developing a compassionate care course on Crete, and having engaged in conversations on how to improve compassionate care, it was an honour for me to be involved in discussions relating to the development of the symposium, and to participate in this. Christos Lionis

Money or compassion – which is your currency?

William House GP

The chief trouble with money as currency is that the more you spend the less you have. When you spend compassion, on the other hand, you may find your coffers becoming fuller.

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 8.2 - August 2011

Protecting health from climate change
Roger Sepping, Fourth year medical student, Climate and Health Council representative

As a medical student, I have had the opportunity to participate in various global health student groups. Climate change is one topic that I have taken a specific interest in and it has led to my involvement in the Climate and Health Council.After discovering the widespread health risks associated with rising global average temperatures I have realised that the mitigation of climate change should not simply be a mere point of interest to health professionals; it should be one of our most urgent responsibilities.

Sustainable health policy - what might it look like?
Derek Chase GP, Green Party PPC for Cities of London and Westminster

I have been a GP in Westminster for more than 20 years. I founded the Cavendish Health Centre in 1992 and later the King’s College Health Centre in the Strand, served at executive level in the Westminster PCT, and on the board of visitors at Holloway Prison. My growing conviction of the need for new approaches to sustainable living and for building healthy communities led me to leave the Cavendish practice in order to stand as a parliamentary candidate for the Greens. I also sing and play the saxophone.

2030 - How the National Health Service became sustainable
Thea Collins

I am a medical student studying at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) following a year working in Bredasdorp Hospital, South Africa, as well as hospitals in India and the UK. My interest in global health led this year to the position as President of the BSMS Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières society. I am also co-founder and co-president of the BSMS Recital Society, playing the violin and organising events. In my role as honorary midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserves I have represented the Royal Navy throughout Europe.

Towards a lower carbon health system
David Pencheon, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, England

I am Director of the NHS SDU, the main objective of which is to ensure that one of the world's biggest organisations addresses the world's biggest health threat. I am a doctor. I used to be a teacher, and spent some years living in rural China trying to do both.

Resilience - a concept comes of age
Trevor Thompson, Consultant Senior Lecturer, Academic Unit of Primary Care, University of Bristol

Unlike a lot of the patients in our inner-city GP practice, I was born, in Belfast, into very non-adverse circumstances. Despite the rumble of explosions, and a high profile ‘security’ presence, I had a fun-filled, love-filled and adventuresome childhood and carried the myth of immortality well into my 20s, despite a major RTA and getting in the family way a little earlier than anticipated. Now in my 40s, illness has come knocking, and I have discovered health and happiness as a much more active undertaking. For me the chief nourishers in life’s feast would include a good book, a good sleep, a good laugh and a good Burgundy.

Greening the NHS at its roots
Frances Mortimer, Medical Director, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare; David Pearson, Head of Primary Care Learning andTeaching, University of Leeds School of Medicine; Stefi Barna, Sustainable Healthcare Education Network, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia

David Pearson is a general practitioner at the University of Leeds School of Medicine. Aware ofthe links between health and lifestyle, and how humans are arrogant enough to believe the body is somehow independent of pressure put on it by the mind. David believes healthcare must be sustainable and holistic if it is to contribute to a healthier future rather than perpetuate the problems we are creating for our children. 

Frances Mortimer helped to set up the Campaign for Greener Healthcare (now the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare) in 2008 wishing to play a part not just in improving the health of individual patients but in creating a healthier society. In exploring the concept of environmentally sustainable clinical practice, Frances has discovered a more holistic, patient-centred approach to medicine, as well as many aspects of systems change.

Stefi Barna is a public health practitioner involved in community development. Living and working internationally has given her a more global and ecological perspective on the world. As an educator she tries to help young people articulate responses to the incoherence they see around them, environmentally, politically, economically and spiritually.

Understanding denial
Chris Johnstone, Author, trainer and coach in the psychology of change

My interest in behavioural medicine led me to the addictions field, where I worked for nearly 20 years as a doctor and group therapist. I will always remember a client who began the consultation by telling me, ‘I think the problem’s overblown; I don’t think my drinking’s too bad’. He was yellow with jaundice from severe alcoholic liver disease. I saw many clients who, like him, found it hard to acknowledge how out of control they were. I also count among my teachers the many clients I worked with who lived the story of recovery. I see that story as relevant to us all.

Can Christianity make peace with the Earth?
Peter Owen-Jones, Parish priest, author,TV presenter

I work as a priest in southern England. I am a lifelong environmentalist and founded the Arbory Trust woodland burial site and co-found the Life Cairn project which seeks to raise awareness of the mass extinctions which are largely the result of human behaviour. Over the last seven years I have presented a number of award-winning documentaries for the BBC. I have written four books, the latest of which is Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim.

The green death
Trevor Thompson, Consultant Senior Lecturer, Academic Unit of Primary Care, University of Bristol; David Peters, Professor of Integrated Healthcare School of Life Sciences University of Westminster

Trevor Thompson got up close and personal with death when he smashed his leg in a motorcycle accident aged 16.This near-death saw the birth of his aspiration to practice medicine. Part philosopher, part clown, Trevor has been blessed by a university teaching career with the freedom to try out many things, as we endeavour to engage minds and ignite hearts. Trevors current focus is educating for sustainability as well as sailing and growing stuff.

David Peters was steered into medicine when he was 16, after a friend died in an RTA. Llike Trevor David is a would-be sailor and an allotmenteer. Separated at birth? though younger than Trevor, so perhaps has less time to make a proper relationship with dying. David feels that personal maturity means outgrowing the delusion that life and growth go on forever.

Healthcare in Cuba: a model for sustainability?
George Lambie, Lecturer, Leicester Business School; Visiting Professor, University of Havana

Cuba has fascinated me from my first visit to the island in 1985. Since then I have co-edited a book on western European relations with Cuba (The Fractured Blockade, Macmillan 1993), written a number of articles on Cuba’s economy and society and most recently published The Cuban Revolution in the 21st Century (Pluto, 2010). From 1995 to 2000 I was co-director, with Cuba’s Minister of Finance, of the first major European Commission co-operation project with Cuba. I am preparing a research proposal to investigate Cuba’s international health aid programme. I teach International Political Economy (Globalisation) and Latin American Politics at De Montfort University.

Herbal medicines for sustainable self-care
Simon Mills, Director, Sustaincare Community Interest Company

Herbal practice has been my day job for over 35 years, and the politics and development of herbal medicine a dominant theme in the many other things that distract me.The other driving force in my work has been finding ways to help people take back their own healthcare. Several very stimulating meetings and dinner table conversations with Ivan Illich left no alternative but constantly to undermine the notion that medicine is something done by professionals.With our recent work to develop new approaches to facilitating self-care, with the Department of Health and now the College of Medicine, the two worlds snap together! It really does look as though herbs have a new future, wholly consistent with their dominant position throughout history as medicines of the people.

On being the change in medicine
Liz Archer, Part time GP, teacher and trainer, blogger

I have worked in general practice since 1980, currently in a small family practice in Sussex. I have a longstanding interest in CAM, and have been a healer member of the Healing Trust since 2003. During the 1980s I did voluntary relief work in Africa for two years before having a short spell as medical advisor at the Overseas Development Agency (now DFID). In 2006 I ‘woke up’ to the impending global crisis, and became an active member of the Be The Change organisation. I am also writing a blog about my impending retirement

Health, wealth and sustainability
William House GP

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. Albert Einstein

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 7.3 - Dec 2010

Lessons will not be learnt
Pat Goodall

What is the first thing patients want from health services? Treatment that will help us get better ? yes, of course. To be regarded as individuals and accorded respect, choice and compassion ? that goes without saying. But first and foremost, we want to be safe.

Integrated healthcare: The future
Brian M Berman

When I presented these letters as part of my keynote address to the Royal College of Physicians meeting on Integrated Care and The Management of Chronic Illness: The Patient's Agenda for Healthy Living, the debate on healthcare reform was at its height in the US. My son David had just graduated from university and expressed interest in pursuing medicine as a career. Having spent the past 20 years at a large academic health center evaluating an integrated approach to care and attempting to bring change from within "the lion's den", I found myself questioning where we should go from here.With healthcare costs out of control and chronic disease increasing rapidly, can we really continue with business as usual? Or will we have the courage to adjust our compass and make choices that are sustainable and truly good for our health?

No Country for Old Men
David Zigmond

The NHS has been changed massively by refinement and expansions of complex, hierarchical, ?cascading? forms of management. These culminate in the standardised micro- management of clinical care. Much of this derives from models from competitive corporate industry.While such intense and rigid management may eliminate some of the worst clinical practice, it may (unintentionally) prevent the best.This is most likely where flexibility, creativity and attuned imagination are required to enable growth and healing. New forms of service design and economy (eg NHS Trusts and commissioning) may work well with easily treated and clearly defined physical pathology, but are likely to be problematic, even harmful in other healthcare areas.

Remodelling Medicine
Jeremy Swayne

After seven years in general practice I came to recognise the need for a fuller understanding of the nature of illness in individual patients. Building on psychological insights, and beginning to perceive the spiritual dimension of some patients? problems, I was becoming aware of a divergence between the aims and methods of modern medicine and the need for another kind of healing, or wholeness.To explore these issues by spending more time with fewer patients, I set up a new practice providing routine 15-minute appointments. My subsequent encounter with homeopathy introduced another useful therapeutic modality. Since retirement from clinical practice I remain active in the Christian Healing Ministry, and in exploring the relationship between medicine and healing, and between science and religion.

Science and Selfcare - An interview with Dean Ornish
Cath Zollman

Dean Ornish has been directing clinical research trials for 33 years, In the late 1980s his team demonstrated for the first time that comprehensive lifestyle changes may reverse severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. More recently he has found that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. Here he talks to Cath Zollman ? Bravewell Scholar studying at the University of Arizona ? about his work and his approach.

The living matrix/ground resolution system
James L Oschman

This article describes the origins of whole-system concepts known as the living matrix and the ground regulation system in the context of ground- breaking research in fields ranging from cell and molecular biology to electronic and quantum biology.The goal is to provide a detailed and scientifically accurate explanation of healing by moving energy that is a fundamental concept in a variety of other cultures and medical traditions before ours.

An integrated approach to the patient on long-term systemic corticosteroid treatment
Fiona Price-Kuehne

Corticosteroids have played a vital role in the life-saving treatment of my systemic vasculitis, Wegener?s granulomatosis. Indeed without their help, I may not have been here today. However, the treatment has come at a price; mood-swings, muscle-wastage and osteoporosis are just a few of the side-effects that I have battled with as a result of long-term systemic steroid treatment.

Collaborative working and the homeless patient
Aidan Halligan and Nigel Hewett

The NHS has tended to have a poor understanding of homelessness and health. But homelessness significantly raises health risks and community healthcare provision could reduce secondary healthcare costs. University College London is piloting a new, collaborative approach to refocus the care of homeless people.

Innovative general practice in Sheffield
Karine Nohr

Foxhill Medical Centre lies within one of the largest social housing estates in Europe and an area of deprivation.The challenges this poses have been met with innovation and experimentation: for example a healthfood shop, creative writing group, herbalism, a closed door to drug reps and the creation of the important role of community health development nurse.

NICE - is the best the enemy of the good?
William House

It may have seemed from recent news items that NICE?s days are numbered. In fact, the opposite is the case! The role of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is to be expanded. The recent headlines concern NICE?s most high profile role? deliberating on the cost-effectiveness (and hence NHS availability) of expensive drugs? of balancing the benefits of the individual case against the greater good. Several high profile cases over cancer drugs have been fought out between NICE and an unlikely alliance of lawyers, drug companies, academics and patient groups united by their own particular interests in fighting the battle. This can't be a good way to run the health service.

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 7.2 - Oct 2010

Preparing for challenge from crisis to blessing
William Bloom

I recently faced major surgery for the first time. The core message of this article is the possibility of transforming a crisis into a blessing, from a state of worry into a state of kindness, courage and generosity. In relation to my surgery, I could not just switch on that attitude. It took me a while to get there. Here I am alive and well, having gone through my first ever general anaesthetic and surgery and I am grateful to be so well. (What I thought was the natural decline of old age turned out to be a surfeit of calcium, which is now healed, and I feel vital again! And lucky). So I thought I would share the strategies I used to prepare for the surgery and that are relevant to other challenging situations. I am hoping that these ideas and tactics will prove useful for you too if you find yourself facing something similar.

A vision of integrative medicine - myth or reality?
Elizabeth Thompson

Following a short flu-like illness I realised that I was not bouncing back with my usual resilience. As I finally surrendered to the illness as an insistent mentor and guide, help seemed to flow towards me. For example one morning it dawned on me that I was experiencing burnout and by afternoon a dear friend had brought me The Joy of Burnout by Diane Glouberman. One of the central questions in the book was "over the past ten years are you aware of anything that has disappointed you deeply?"

Can amygdala retraining techniques improve the wellbeing of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome?
Ashok Gupta

This paper is an initial clinical audit on Amygdala Retraining Techniques (ART), a novel set of holistic treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). ART is based on the hypothesis that CFS is caused by on-going trauma in the amygdale.The clinical audit revealed higher rates of improvement in comparison to the natural remission rate in other intervention studies. Further randomised controlled studies are recommended to investigate the efficacy of the treatments.

Why would anyone use an unproven or disproven therapy?
Edzard Ernst

In my job, professor of complementary medicine, I meet many clinicians who do the strangest things, for instance, administer unproven or disproven treatments (UDTs). I have often asked myself: why? For many years, I have been pondering this seemingly simple question, and gradually I became convinced that there is not one single reason but at least four themes that we need to consider.

An observation of integrated health in Rajasthan, India
Victoria Burrows

This is a reflective report of my medical elective. It details my observations of an active, integrated healthcare system in India. How does it work? What do people think? Is it possible here in the UK? Practically, what can we, as healthcare providers, actually do in order to instigate the process of change?

The Open Plan
James Cattermole

When the Kai clinic won the BHMA Healing Spaces award in 2008 doctors who shared the premises said they saw a positive effect on mood and health. How has the service bedded in, what do patients think, and what is its future?

Hands-on healing for animals
Margrit Coates

About 12 years ago I was already offering natural therapies to people. One of my patients, a woman recovering from a double mastectomy, told me she had a horse with health issues the vet could not resolve. So I went along to give her horse healing, and subsequently its physical health issues and behaviour improved. Soon, I had as many animal clients coming to me for healing treatments as I had human ones. I decided to read up about animal healing, but soon discovered there was not one book solely on this topic. And while many healers did work with animals from time to time, no-one was specialising in treating them. In fact it seemed to me that most considered it a second-rate option. How times have changed!

Healing in NHS hospitals
Angie Buxton-King

The experience of personal tragedy provided me with the motivation to spread the use of reiki and spiritual healing to support cancer patients. My experience with my late son Sam during his illness (1995?1998) continues to drive me to help provide a healing service at the ?coal face?. I have been employed for the last 11 years by University College London Hospital (UCLH) as a healer working with cancer patients. Since 2003 I have managed the complementary therapy team within cancer services at UCLH.

The White Knight and The Princess
William House

Every new government tests itself against the NHS. And so it is with fairy tales in which suitors for the hand of the princess are put to the test. Our latest white knight?s tactic is bold indeed: drastic solutions for drastic times! He has seen that the princess has been imprisoned since childhood.

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 7.1 - May 2010

A brief summary of holistic wellness literature
Gord Miller and Leslie T Foster Faculty of Human and Social Development & Department of Geography, University of Victoria

This article is a summary of current holistic wellness literature, involving online database keyword searches, additional searches for other studies, screening of abstracts, assessing the relevance to the review and integrating the findings. More than 300 journal articles, books and websites were examined or accessed to determine how wellness was defined and to find research and wellness models. A complete report and wellness mapping products can be found at

Wellbeing: conceptual issues and implications for interdisciplinary work
Sarah Edmunds Department of Psychology, University of Westminster

Wellbeing is a common term in both policy and academia but it is often used in a conceptually vague way and means different things to different people.These issues may limit its potential to create the positive changes that are intended by those who promote wellbeing. Interdisciplinary research and practice offers great potential to further our understanding of, and ability to enhance, wellbeing. However, this type of research is challenging.

Work at the nef Centre for Well-being
Juliet Michaelson Researcher, Centre for Well-being, nef

nef is an independent think-and-do tank founded in 1986 that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. nef's vision is of a society where wealth is defined and measured in terms of wellbeing. This means recognising and supporting what really makes us happy ? such as meaningful work, time with our friends and family, creative education, and a real sense of community. nef believes only then can we move towards a truly flourishing society.

Is it all downhill from day one at medical school?
Jessica Morgan, Funke Adefope, Amy Bissell,Angela Clarke, David Collins,Michaela Harvey, Ian Kear,Danielle Lednor, Anna Stubbs,Craig Brown Brighton and Sussex Medical School

This paper investigates how wellbeing is affected during progression through years one to four of medical school. It used a one-time only self-rated wellbeing question. The results obtained suggests that wellbeing may decline through medical school and confirms some previous studies that males seem to rate higher than females in wellbeing scores. This was a useful pilot tool and further surveys are now required.

The community and the chocolate factory
William House

The heart of wellbeing: A self-help approach to recovering, sustaining and improving wellbeing
Craig Brown GP and Jan Alcoe Trainer

This article outlines the development of a book and CD called The heart of well-being: seven tools for surviving and thriving that aids individuals to maintain and improve their wellbeing - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It describes the background to developing the resource from a healthcare training programme on values and spirituality, and provides a summary of the methodology and content with illustrative examples.

Reframing the wellbeing debate: It's political not scientific
William Bloom Author, educator, activist in the field of holistic development

Holistic health practitioners know that an essential part of wellbeing is our connection with the wonder and energy of nature and all life. But they are often excluded from mainstream medicine due to accusations of 'bad science' especially when they mention energy, qi or prana. This paper suggests that practitioners move on from that debate and be encouraged by the NHS's full support of spirituality in best practice. It also encourages practitioners to write Holistic whenever they are asked to fill in a form with a religion box.

Improving global wellbeing, improving personal wellbeing
Jason Ferdjani Medical student

The BHMA runs an annual student essay prize with a £250 prize for the winner. This is a well written and researched essay.

Applied 'generative space': improving health and wellbeing through your practice environment
Wayne Ruga Founder and President,The CARITAS Project

This article discusses 'generative space' as being the sustainable means to improve health, healthcare, and wellbeing with the environment. The article is a brief report on an advanced phase of original research, spanning seven years, being conducted in five countries by the author.

The Positive Care Programme: A holistic approach for people with long-term illness and carers
Su Mason Director of the Positive Care Programme

The Positive Care Programme is a registered, Leeds-based charity, which provides a free 24-week course of complementary therapies and motivational workshops for people with long-term health problems and unpaid carers. It is designed to give attention to the mind, body and spirit, so that over time positive change may be experienced.

Does mindfulness increase wellbeing?
Caroline Hoffman Clinical Director and Research Co-ordinator, Breast Cancer Haven

Since the 1960s interest in mindfulness and its practice in the west has been steadily growing. Mindfulness programmes such as Jon Kabat-inn devised 30 years ago have supported the introduction of mindfulness practice into healthcare, education and society. As people search out ways for preventing illness and improving their health and wellbeing, the need for such non-doctrine based programmes has never been greater. The increasing number of health professionals providing mindfulness programmes reflects this, as does the recent burst of healthrelated research in the area, which this paper overviews.

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Journal of Holistic Healthcare
Issue 8.1 - May 2011

Let’s talk about it
Hermione Elliott Director, Living Well Dying Well

Much time and effort goes in to preparing for a birth, yet so little goes into preparing for death. As someone who has accompanied many people in their last days, and in my work as a nurse, midwife, counsellor and trainer. I have a special interest in creating opportunities for more people to engage in open dialogue based on the belief that ‘the way we go out, is just as important as the way we come in’.

The neglect of older people in NHS hospitals: a view from within
William House  GP, Bath

Half of my 30 years as a GP was spent working part-time in our local community hospital. There we were often confronted with the results of poor care in patients transferred from larger hospitals. I learnt from the nurses the value of kindness as well as skill. I have learned since that through insights from other disciplines, especially the dramatic arts, it is possible to feel and understand some of the humanity that underlies that kindness and skill, and that cannot be articulated in language.

Terror and intimacy –unlocking secrets at the end of life
Ros Taylor  Director, Hospice of St Francis and Kimberley McLaughlin Director, supportive care services, Hospice of St Francis

Ros and Kimberly draw on their experience working at the Hospice of St Frances. They are disturbed by the demoralisation in medicine today and want to integrate some what they have learnt in the hospice world, back into mainstream care. In particular, they are interested in inspiring doctors to see themselves as healers once again. Facilitating the understanding of family stories and communication patterns by using co-creative therapeutic conversations with patients, allows them to interpret their story in a new way, thereby creating more helpful relationships at this most difficult of times.

Health-promoting palliative care
Jon Bowra Assistant Director, Living Well Dying Well

My interest in palliative care has a number of strands. I have experience as a social worker practising in this area. I am part of an organisation that is working towards developing a more ‘accompanying’ and community-orientated experience of dying. I have an academic interest, having completed a Masters in Death and Society at the University of Bath. I have leukaemia. From these combined threads, health-promoting palliative care interests me in appearing to offer a broadening of horizons in the approach to dying, with potential positive impact on the quality of life and wellbeing experienced at this time.

End of life experiences
Peter Fenwick Hon Senior Lecturer Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, and Department of Neuroscience, Southampton University

As a neuro-psychiatrist I worked at the Maudsley, John Radcliffe, and Broadmoor hospitals. But I would say my most compelling (and challenging) research has been into end-of-life phenomena. I have a longstanding interest in consciousness, and in what near-death experiences can tell us about its relationship to the brain, and perhaps to a wider field of non-located consciousness. My wife Elizabeth and I recently wrote a book about the experiences of dying people, their relatives, hospice and palliative care workers. We hope The Art of Dying will help prepare those who are caring for dying people to understand some of the extra-ordinary, but far from uncommon, experiences that come about in the final days or hours of life.

Moving beyond the medical model
Hermione Elliott Director, Living Well Dying Well

I have attended many deaths in hospitals, in people’s homes as a Marie Curie nurse and as a hospice nurse. Some have left very powerful memories – good and bad. Alongside this my health counselling and coaching work has been greatly influenced by the holistic approach pioneered at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now Penny Brohn Cancer Centre) where I worked in the 1980s. My personal and professional development have always run in tandem and in recent years, prompted by three deaths more close to home, I have been drawing together all the threads of my life in response to a need I see all around me: a more human, respectful, enlightened and empowered approach to supporting people at the end of life. This has culminated in the development of a course for Doulas, or companions for the dying.

The complementary therapy service at St Wilfrids Hospice
Anne Bennett Complementary Therapies Co-ordinator, St Wilfrids Hospice, Chichester, David Pardoe Former Head Teacher and now a patient of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Jenny Buckley Head of Education, St Wilfrids Hospice

The authors show how complimentary therapies can be employed in palliative care, and their experience of using an evidence-based rating system with therapies including aromatherapy, reflexology, reiki, Bach flower remedies, ear candling, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, Tai Chi and yoga.

Darkness on the edges
Rev Prof Stephen G Wright

I work as a spiritual director for the Sacred Space Foundation (see helping people in spiritual crisis (including NHS staff burnout) and guiding spiritual seekers. For many years I was an academic and worked in the NHS. Now I work with organisations developing the practice of healing, spiritual care, conflict resolution and staff support, and I am an ordained interfaith minister. I live in the English Lake District, deepening service and spiritual practice, participating in my local church community, taking care of my organic garden and enjoying grandfatherhood.

Song as life is ending
David Aldridge Co-director, Nordoff Robbins music therapy, Witten, Germany

At the Nordoff Robbins we work with people of all ages. Part of my work involves providing musical resources for the elderly, in dementia care and particularly in end-of-life provision. In addition, I am still involved in writing projects concentrating on guides for professionals and families.The first of these was about working with disturbed children using the principles of non-violent resistance, the second concerning Fragile X syndrome and a current book with a Cuban colleague about suicidal behaviour.

Spirituality and later life – a personal perspective
Andrew Powell Founding Chair, Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group, Royal College of Psychiatrists

I have worked as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in NHS consultant posts in London and Oxford. My interest in spirituality in healthcare has been a lifelong concern. In 1999, the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychiatrists was established ( and a milestone has been the publication by the college in 2009 of Spirituality and Psychiatry. Spirituality has been largely dismissed by western medicine and my hope is that we shall be able to secure a better recognition of its place in best practice in medicine, and particularly in mental healthcare over the coming years.

Fear of death
William House GP

From the point of view of the ego...[death] appears as a catastrophe... but from the point of view of the psyche it appears as a joyful event. In the light of eternity it is a wedding. Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1963

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About the Journal

The Journal of Holistic Healthcare is a UK based journal circulated to members of the BHMA, focusing on evidence based practice and the practical implications of research in holistic health and social care. Its target audience is the full range of healthcare practitioners, CAM practitioners, health service providers, policy makers, commissioners and researchers in the field.

Anyone interested in Holistic Healthcare can become a member of the BHMA in order to gain access to journals. A sample journal is also freely available to download. Members can access both the current issue of the Journal on-line as well as back issues dating back to May 2004. 

The Journal typically includes detailed case examples of successful holistic practice and services, research findings and methodologies, evidence of effective practice, and commentaries on policy and service developments in the field. Our aim is to establish a high-quality source of information and good practice examples for anyone interested in holistic health, including policy-makers, practitioners and lay people. Our intention is to link theory to practice. The Journal is intended to be accessible and readable as well as challenging. Key articles will link theory and research to practice and policy development. Contributions from a variety of disciplines are welcome.

The Journal is overseen by a 16 member Advisory Board.

To contribute to the Journal of Holistic Healthcare please download the Contributors Guidelines or to advertise you can download the JHH media pack

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