What does this mean and how does it differ from counselling?

Chaplaincy, like counselling, takes places within a supportive listening relationship. The pastoral support felt by this is similar to emotional support from a counsellor, except that the patient/client knows their listener has a faith perspective which may come into the conversation if the patient wishes it to.

Chaplaincy sessions are likely to be less frequent (e.g. monthly) than counselling sessions. The focus of chaplaincy work is not so much on resolving specific problems/issues as working towards personal and spiritual growth. Chaplaincy sessions may mainly comprise pastoral support; or they may move into spiritual accompaniment; or they can be a mixture of both.

Spiritual accompaniment happens when the chaplain ‘sits’ alongside and enables the patient to explore all that is spiritually lifegiving for them. A person’s spirituality (the part of us which is beyond words and deeply who we are / our ‘soul’) plays a vital part in any improvement in health, or ability to live well within ongoing limitations. Spiritual accompaniment does not have to be related to any one religious belief. But if appropriate the religious beliefs and practices of a patient may helpfully feature in conversations, as well as other broader spiritual practice (e.g. mindfulness meditation, creative activities, communing with nature).

Things that will be discussed during the 15 minute initial free session are:

What is your preferred way of communicating for the moment?

Phone / Skype

Length of sessions:

Up to 15 min – up to 30 min – up to 50 min


Weekly – fortnightly – on request

What do you see as the focus of the sessions for the moment?

Any particular needs to be taken into account.