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Person-centred care

To address such questions, FFTR scientists collaborate with colleagues both within Radboud University and beyond, as well as with several external organisations including hospitals and care institutions (Radboudumc, VUumc, Dimence), patient organisations, funds, charities (the Dutch Cancer Society, the Dutch Heart Foundation) and professional organisations (spiritual carers, physicians and psychiatrists). The common goal is to address philosophical, religious and ideological questions raised in the care sector.


Post-initial education

We organise the Clinical Pastoral Care course for spiritual carers together with Radboudumc’s Spiritual Counselling Office. The aim of the course is to allow participants to strengthen their professional identity whilst developing their professional activities.

We are currently working on a post-initial programme that will teach doctors and spiritual carers - jointly and inter-professionally - how to handle questions on meaning and purpose within the care sector.

Contract research and consultancy

We offer various forms of research and consultancy, including:

  • Implementation of self-management in mental health care. Given our interdisciplinary nature we benefit from a clear vision of the various interests at play and are therefore able to meet the specific needs of an organisation. We can act as a partner in managerial advisory processes and funding applications for projects on the themes of self-management.
  • Research into the functioning of spiritual care in health care, in prisons, armed forces, and within police departments.
  • Strengthening vulnerable people’s appraisal, ideological motivation and sense of meaning and purpose, by involving them in realising green areas in towns and urban spaces. In this process we develop and stimulate value configurations, meaning that social, ‘green’ and spiritual values can come into play besides economic considerations in realising increased wellbeing.

Courses and course material

  • Theme: ‘self-management’: as well as personal expertise and supervision, we also offer training, courses and educational material directed at issues surrounding self-management. This involves a wide selection, offering insight into theoretical and ethical matters surrounding self and self-management, as well as practical tools in the form of case studies and best practices.
  • 'Who am I?': (in Dutch)We have written a book called  Philosophy of the self as preparation material for philosophy exams taken by pupils in senior general secondary education. The theme alights on personal identity, exploring the notion further in the pursuit of three core questions: What sort of ‘thing’ is a human being actually? Can we really know our emotions, thoughts and desires? And finally: How is man supposed to act and what can he be held responsible for?

Lectures and symposiums

25 January 2019: Symposium Interpreting the good life and suffering: how to do this.

Projects and partners

NWO (Dutch organisation for scientific research) – research into self-management in mental health care.

In mental health care, the focus is increasingly turning towards self-management. This assumes that we see patients as ‘experts’, who share their knowledge and responsibility with carers and who proactively work with them on their own care. Via self-management, more efficient and economic care becomes possible, whilst at the same time doing justice to a patient’s own experiences.


  • University of Amsterdam
  • UMC Utrecht

NIAS (the Netherlands Institute for Advanced studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences) theme group: The mutual translation of neuroscience and clinical practice

Philosophers, psychiatrists, neuroscientists and language experts work together in this theme group to enhance the applicability of science. On the one hand we look at how problems from the clinical practice can be better understood through specific neurobiological models, whilst on the other hand we examine how insights available from neuroscience can be translated and made applicable in treating psychiatric ailments. In the process we do not opt for a purely deterministic approach, but choose a wide angle view in which matters such as personal intentionality and social context are included.


  • VUMC
  • Utrecht University
  • Dimence

The contribution mental and spiritual health care makes to the living conditions in penitentiary institutions

The living conditions in prisons determine for a large part prisoners’ wellbeing and behaviour, both during and after their incarceration. Factors that influence these conditions include safety, meaningful activities and treatment. By appointment of the Spiritual Counselling Office, we are currently researching how spiritual care contributes to these living conditions and how it can be improved.

Partner: Spiritual Counselling Office, Ministry of Justice and Security

SPIRIT research network

On a couple of occasions every year, our Spiritual Care Masters student’s theses are presented to and discussed by practicing professionals. Examples of the subjects discussed include moral reflection and informal care when dealing with dementia.

Partner: Radboudumc

Spiritual care internships

Our Spiritual Care Master’s programme students perform internships at various institutions, usually for a period of about six months. Every year we organise a mentor meeting for our partners. This is where we consider jointly the level to which our students and their knowledge of spiritual care connects with the internship practice. We also like to share thoughts on current developments regarding counselling, rituals and ethical issues.

The experience of student Rashwan Bafati

"I completed my internship at LUMC, the Leiden University Medical Center. I’m currently working on my thesis on ‘Contemplative Listening’, the method used by the Spiritual Care department at LUMC. I’m developing a clinical measuring tool to gauge the effectiveness of this method. After studying I aim to start working as a territorial Islamic Spiritual Carer in the LUMC. This means I’ll be of service to all patients in a particular department, irrespective of their beliefs."
Rashwan bafati


For information, meetings and /or requests you can contact our experts:

Dr. Leon de Bruin (Philosophy) and Prof. Dr. Hans Schilderman (Religious Studies).

Leon de Bruinhans Schilderman