Rituals: the 'soul' purpose.

D. Freshwater, F. C. Biley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Nursing has, perhaps unknowingly, given recognition to the importance of maintaining the client's normal rituals and patterns of day-to-day activity on admission to hospital. To make the client feel more at ease, comfortable and relaxed, care is aimed at adhering to their usual routine. To this end, the client's bedtime rituals, toileting habits and many other of their daily routines are explored during the hospital admission process or initiation ceremony to the ward. As nurses, we place great meaning on trying to maintain these rituals and routines for the client, recognizing that keeping a sense of normality may be of great importance. It seems almost paradoxical then, that it is we nurses who criticize ourselves for compulsively adhering to what are described as ritualistic ways of working; which it has been said, are of seemingly little value both to the client's own healing process and nursing itself. In a recent paper the notion that ritualized practice had no place in nursing and made a case for the defence of rituals was challenged. This paper expands this theme further, exploring the symbolic and ancestral necessity for rituals, drawing upon archetypal psychology to help illustrate the potential hazards for the nursing milieu of dismissing rituals without fully understanding their latent purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-76
Number of pages4
JournalComplementary therapies in nursing & midwifery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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