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Title: An investigation of spiritual healing in a Camphill Community setting with children who have special needs
Author: Woodward, Robert Sidney
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 1820
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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The aim of this thesis is to critically investigate spiritual healing in a Camphill Community setting with children who have special needs. The research methodology comprises two in-depth instrumental case studies. This methodology takes into account the complex multifaceted context of the Camphill setting. Moreover in the Literature Review I also identify three key contextual 'themes' in which the study is located, namely Spiritual Healing, Spirituality, and Holistic Health and Social Care, which run like red threads throughout this inquiry. My research participants were selected from pupils at Norwood Camphill School on the basis that they were below sixteen years of age, that they might be likely to benefit in some way from this complementary therapy, and that they were already known to be willing to receive healing or else considered likely to be willing to do so. Originally three participants were identified, but in the course of the study it was agreed that two would be sufficient given the quantity and richness of the data generated. Both participants were diagnosed as having autistic spectrum disorders and severe learning difficulties. Data was constructed by respondents within Norwood and also by the parents/guardians of the children. A third-party observer and myself in my dual-role of healer/researcher contributed data from the children's observed responses to their individual healing sessions. These were arranged in block- periods within the three school terms over the course of the Healing Year. The sessions were also videoed, providing an invaluable source of audio- visual data. All the qualitative data was rigorously analysed through a process of thematic analysis and data triangulation to reveal emerging and emergent themes. Each case study is unique to each participant but both are structured within the same five-stage design framework. Subsequently the two cases were compared through the strategy of Cross-Case Analysis and Synthesis. As the study is naturalistic and exploratory in nature it does not seek to establish any direct causal links between healing and any progress shown by the participants over the Healing Year. Nonetheless it does provide a unique and detailed presentation of their individual responses within the healing sessions. Although the study is grounded in a particular philosophical context underpinned by Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy (or spiritual-science) and the curative education based upon it, my hope is that it will encourage further robust inquiries in the field of Healing Research with vulnerable and special children. The study is suggestive of some potential benefits for such children, including those on the autistic spectrum, and in a wide variety of educational and health and social care contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available