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Making Space for Spiritual/Existential Distress in Differential Diagnosis: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Title: Making Space for Spiritual/Existential Distress in Differential Diagnosis: An Interdisciplinary Approach with Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham, MDiv, PhD, TRT

CE/CME Credit Available:

Counselor and Social Worker

Member Price: $35.00
Non-Member Price: $70.00

Payment Options: Add to Cart without CE/CME
Add to Cart with Counselor CE
Length: 1.0 hours

This course was originally presented at NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA’s 2015 Virtual Conference entitled Clinical Advances in the Art and Science of Care.

Responding effectively to spiritual and/or existential distress has been demonstrated to impact patient and family satisfaction, treatment adherence, EOL decisions about aggressive treatments, and the financial bottom line in healthcare.  Each member of the inter-professional team can play a critical role in this vital component of whole-person care. This advanced presentation for all disciplines will provide practical tips for more effective screening with an awareness of language that either opens dialogue or closes down patients’ sense of safety and willingness to disclose their pain.  Resources for appropriate interventions and referrals, a discussion of challenging cases, and ethical guidelines to avoid spiritual malpractice—through neglect or abuse—will also be provided and explored.


  • Recognize the importance of including spiritual distress in differential diagnosis
  • Develop comfortable methods of screening for spiritual distress
  • identify appropriate responses and referrals in response to spiritual distress

Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham, MDiv, PhD, TRT, MA

Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham is a Spiritual Care Coordinator and works with Buckner Hospice in Austin, Texas. Carla is the Section Leader for the Spiritual Caregivers Section through the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, which provides resources, education, and networking regarding spiritual care for NHPCO members. She is also the founder of Carla Cheatham Consulting Group, which provides SCIE--Spiritual Care Integrity and Excellence trainings for Spiritual Care Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, and Physicians in healthcare. After receiving her MA in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University, Carla began her career in social services, working in both direct care and management in child and family therapy, substance abuse treatment, crisis counseling, therapeutic outdoor education, team building, and as a Qualified Mental Retardation Professional. Carla then went on to receive her PhD in Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University, where she taught and researched, focusing largely on the interaction between spirituality and health. Carla received her MDiv at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology and is an ordained minister. After serving congregations and directing an interfaith worker justice non-profit, Carla began working in hospice and found a passion for promoting the role of ethical spiritual care at the end of life and assisting all hospice staff in finding greater connection and personal health through a grounded and clear approach to our respective work in this field. Carla is the author of Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life, a book of her work as a hospice chaplain designed to help consumers understand hospice more and fear it less.


Faculty: Rev. Carla Cheatham, MDiv, PhD, TRT, MA has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

Planners: Barbara L. Bouton, MA, FT, and Jennifer Kennedy, MA, BSN, RN, have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

CE/CME Credit: Nurse: 1.0 Contact Hours
Physician: 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
 Social Worker:  1.0 Contact Hours
Completion: In order to complete this online activity and obtain CE/CME credit, participants must view the course in its entirety, correctly answer all case studies and quiz/test questions (as appropriate) and complete the evaluation.  You will have 90 days to access this course from the date of purchase.
CE/CME Info: 

Counselor: The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6232. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NHPCO is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Release Date: April 30, 2017

Expiration Date: 

April 30, 2020

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