Get to know Anthony and Aliza! 

Is spiritual care the heart of health care? “Yes!”, says Anthony Schwartz directly. And Aliza Damsma fully agrees: “That is so very true.” Anthony and Aliza are the hosts of the online student event: Get ready for Spiritual Care – Being present in hectic times. Who they are? We presented four statements to them to get to know them a bit better.

Anthony: “I am an applied psychologist who seeks to help make connections and ‘grow’ people. I feel delighted and humbled that I have been asked to be a host of the student event. I am especially interested in meeting with a wide range of people and consider what it means to deliver ’spiritual care’ in the caring professions. What I expect? Insight. Sharing. Learning. Enthusiasm. Creativity. Connection. Warm engagement arising from being part of a community of care.”

Aliza: “I am excited to aid the digital encouter of all interested in spiritual care. I hope for a fun, interactive and interesting time where we will feel the support of all who share our passion for spiritual care. I definitely signed up when I was a student. Spirituality is so important for all humans, but especially for patients and clients, I would love to get this much input, would look forward to practice together and would cherish the community of likeminded health care professionals all over the world!”

‘Corona gives momentum to spiritual care’

Anthony: “Experiencing challenges and obstacles as at this time of pandemic points to the fragility of our existence which may lead to further questions about the meaning we find (or make) in life.”

Aliza: “Yes, as we all have to reframe what matters most.”

‘To learn about spiritual care is to learn about delivering real person centred care’

Anthony: “It is about being human and touching the hearts, minds and souls of those we engage with. It is also about giving unconditional positive regard, empathy, respect and warmth in interactions with those we meet.”
Aliza: “Which is not academic at all, but learning to foster a real human connection with all whom you encounter in your practice.”

If you want to learn about spiritual care you cannot miss this student event’

Anthony: “You will meet with like-minded people whose hearts are in the right place, and whose minds are focused on maintaining excellent care. It is a place to recognise the use of person-centred values whilst being open to the spiritual in whatever form this takes for you and however you make meaning of life and the world.”

Aliza: “True, and will set you up for being a professional who prioritizes the care that really matters for your patients and clients.”

‘This online student event is the opportunity to meet fellow students across borders’

Anthony: “This is opportunity to connect, be inspired and become ‘infected’ with values and tools to practice health care in your own way and be able to gain, regain or maintain a holistic Spiritual Care perspective.”

Aliza: “Which is, even if in its digital form the heart of shaping the future of spiritual care: you guys are the future of healthcare, this will help to find and support each other.”

Anthony Schwartz

Anthony has worked for more than thirty years within the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, and in the academic field at Staffordshire University where he is a Visiting Professor. He is registered as both a Clinical Psychologist and a Health Psychologist and uses his applied psychology skills in both clinical and academic settings.

Within the general field of Occupational Health Psychology he offers consultancy, training and one-to-one input focusing on performance and wellbeing at work.  His input spans health, independent and commercial sectors. He works alongside colleagues on projects such as concentration and focus in safety critical areas (e.g. the rail industry) and developing standards of care for health professionals (e.g. spiritual care for nurses and midwives).

Currently he is involved in running retreat centres in the Netherlands and Italy for professionals coping with stress and challenges at work and home. This encompasses physical, psychological and nutritional interventions, to help people reconnect, rediscover and recover capacity for living more fully and to develop greater resilience. He is passionate about personal growth and development, focusing on self-care. As such he encourages people to make meaningful and informed choices, recognizing that insight without behavior change is unhelpful.

His publications include journal articles, chapters and books on self-care, managing stress and the application of mindfulness in executive coaching.

Aliza Damsma

Drs. Aliza Damsma Bakker is a registered nurse and has a master’s degree in Nursing and Education. She works as a senior teacher of the bachelor Nursing program and as a researcher on spirituality at Viaa University. Her passion is to promote and stimulate the spirituality and spiritual development of sick children, the topic of her current PhD study.