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Volume 10, Issue 1 (Spring 2023)                   J Prevent Med 2023, 10(1): 8-19 | Back to browse issues page

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Mansouri F, Pourghane P. Spiritual Therapy in the Elderly: A Systematic Review. J Prevent Med 2023; 10 (1) :8-19
URL: http://jpm.hums.ac.ir/article-1-625-en.html
1- Department of Nursing, Zeynab (PBUH) School of Nursing and Midwifery, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.
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When people reach old age, they feel rejected, and as their mood decreases, they experience depression, anxiety, and isolation. To improve the psychological health of the elderly, various training and treatment methods have been used. One of these methods is spiritual therapy. Having meaning in life has a positive relationship with psychological factors and leads to adaptation, satisfaction with life, psychological well-being and having the reason to survive in the elderly. In spiritual therapy, relying on religious teachings, the presented solutions are used individually or combined with other psychotherapy techniques for the treatment of emotional and psychological disorders. Spiritual therapy encourages therapists to address the important spiritual beliefs of patients during treatment at the right time and to use interventions to use the power of faith and spirituality. which shows that the therapist values the spiritual beliefs of patient. Spiritual therapy refers to the use of cultural and religious beliefs during treatment and communicating internally across the boundaries of religions. To improve and restore the patients’ health, the therapist invites them to explore spiritual beliefs and emphasizes these spiritual beliefs impartially without judgment. The present study aims to review the effects of spiritual therapy in the elderly.

This is a systematic review. The search was carried out in IranMedex, Google Scholar, Jihad University Scientific Information Center (SID), PubMed, and Scopus databases for the studies that were published in Farsi and English from 2010 to 2020 using the keywords “spirituality therapy” and “elderly” by applying the Boolean operators (AND, OR). The matrix method was used for the review step by step. Screening of articles was done in 4 stages: Initial search, examining duplicate articles, examining abstracts, examining the accessibility to the full texts, and study of extracted articles. The quality of the articles was evaluated using the Joanna Briggs Institute tools. Critical appraisal was done by each author and the results of low, medium or high quality were discussed between authors. Finally, after removing duplicate and unrelated records, those who were analytical studies and clinical trials were selected and their findings were extracted. Data analysis was done based on qualitative content analysis according to the steps suggested by Graneheim and Lundman.

Among the 3561 found articles, 30 were selected. Of these, 20 articles who were descriptive and analytical studies and clinical trials were selected and classified according to the effects of spiritual therapy. According to studies, religion and spirituality are important resources in making people adapt to stressful events in life, and spiritual health is one of the important aspects of health that can affect the quality of life (QoL). The elderly may not be in favorable psychological conditions due to physical weaknesses, low perceived social support, and feelings of loneliness, which can have a negative impact on their QoL. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized the concept of happiness as one of the important indicators of mental health. Happiness can protect people from mental pressures and is a generator for producing energy, happiness and enthusiasm, and ultimately guarantees a person’s mental health. Successful treatment of loneliness may reduce the risk of serious complications such as depression. Spiritual factors affect the reduction of death anxiety. These factors include religiosity, religious attitude, attachment to God, satisfaction with life, and religion, which plays an essential role in the QoL in old age. Elderly people who receive spiritual trainings adapt to problems faster, and their psychological and emotional resources such as capability, pain tolerance, and adaptation to stress are improved.

This study was conducted with the aim of determining the role of spiritual therapy in the elderly. Spiritual therapy has received more attention in recent years due to its many effects on physical and mental aspects, but still further research is needed to reveal all aspects of this type of therapy. Spirituality is one of the dimensions of human life and when people enter the counseling and treatment room, they do not leave their spirituality behind; they bring their spiritual beliefs, actions, experiences, values, connections with them to the counseling/treatment rooms. By using spiritual resources, the patients achieve a stronger sense of security and their ability to adapt to problems increases more efficiently. Considering the great effects of spiritual therapy on the mental dimensions (happiness, relief of depression and loneliness) of the elderly and, on the other hand, due to the strong relationship between the mind and the body, spiritual therapy can provide the basis for the recovery of many physical and mental diseases in the elderly. Spiritual therapy can create self-confidence and a sense of satisfaction with life in the elderly and make life meaningful for them. Tt is recommended that the officials, geriatric nurses and all specialists are in contact with the elderly should use spiritual therapy, especially in group sessions, and provide physical and mental health for this vulnerable group.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines

In this study, the samples used in existing studies are not used, and no human samples or hospital records that require informed consent have been used.

This research did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors. 

Authors' contributions
Consultation, study design and editing of the final version: Parand Pourghane; Preparation the initial version, data extraction, referencing and table design: Fatemeh Mansouri.

Conflicts of interest
The authors declared no conflict of interest.

The authors would like to express their gratitude to all the researchers whose articles were used in this study.

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Type of Study: Review | Subject: Special
Received: 2022/05/8 | Accepted: 2023/02/27 | Published: 2023/07/1

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