Spiritual Healing Services in Pancevo, Serbia

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Perceived outcomes of spiritual healing and explanations - a qualitative study on the perspectives of German healers and their customers | BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies | Full Text

About: Limited research has been conducted on contemporary spiritual healing in European countries. The aim of this article is to report how German healers and their customers experienced and perceived the outcomes of spiritual healing and which explanations they use to describe the perceived effects. Semistructured interviews and participatory observation was used to collect data from spiritual healers and their customers. Analyses were based on the methodological concept of directed qualitative content analysis. Data was analyzed using MAXQDA software, discussed and reviewed by a multidisciplinary research team consisting of medical anthropologists, medical doctors and a religious studies scholar. In total 15 healers and 16 customers participated in this study, 24 interviews with healers, 20 interviews with customers and 8 participatory observations were analyzed. Healers and customers reported outcomes as positively perceived body sensations, increased well-being, positive emotions and symptomatic relief of medical complaints. Customers often described changes in their self-concepts and adapted life values. Explanations for perceived effects included connecting with transcendent sources, construction of meaning, as a result of the client-healer relationship, and as empowerment to make changes. Because the interviewed customers were recruited by the healers, a selection bias towards positive healing experiences is possible. They hypothesize that concepts of meaning construction, resource activation and the utilization of the customers’ expectations help to explain the data. Grounded in the emic perspective, they propose to use the following outcomes for further prospective studies: positive body sensations, changes of self-concepts and values, changes of medical symptoms and complaints. From the etic perspective, physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing, sense of coherence, meaningfulness of life, empowerment, resource activation, change and symptom control should be further explored as potential outcomes.

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