A reply to Goddard's ‘spirituality as integrative energy’


  • P.J. Dawson BA (Hons) MA RPN

    1. Research Nurse, Psychiatric Nursing Research Institute, Royal Park Hospital, Private Bag No. 3, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
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Nancy Goddard's ‘spirituality as integrative energy’ serves to highlight the importance of spirituality, while at the same time seeking to transform its nature. In this reply I take issue with the concept of spirituality as integrative energy, arguing that such a reconceptualization effectively strips spirituality of its meaning in the name of spurious scientism. I argue that science is not the only valid mode of knowledge, and that, indeed, the scientific way of knowing may be particularly inappropriate in the context of the spiritual sphere. I briefly consider the gradual separation of spirit from body in the development of western medical science, and point out the commonalities between the scientific and spiritual modes of apprehending the world. While it is important that nurses be aware of the spiritual dimension. I argue that this awareness should not be purchased by reducing spirituality to more ‘acceptable’‘scientific’ terms, but rather that nurses should be afforded the opportunity to study the concept in its historical, literary and philosophical context.