Pastoral Care Team Training

Taking Your Caring Skills to the Next Level
Rev. Michelle Collins
October 19, 2013


Opening & Chalice Lighting
Adapted from Susan Gregg- Schroeder

Agenda for the Day
 Introductions

 Brainstorming : What is pastoral care?
 Brief Active Listening Review & Practice
 Advanced Active Listening: Use of Self

 Boundaries in our caring

 Spiritual Assessment Models
 Discussion: Caring for ourselves

What is
Pastoral Care?

What is Pastoral Care?
 Supporting someone in the church who has some kind of
 Connecting the church with them
 Serving a pastoral function that the “official” pastor
cannot handle all of by him/herself
 Active ministry

 Reaching out to anyone in the congregation in a caring
 Crisis help & continuing care for people in longer term
 Offering support
 Creating a sense of church community

What is Pastoral Care?
 Community as extended family
 Resource network and referral, knowing when to bring in
other resources
 Helping someone feel that they are not alone

 Institutional love
 Friendship

 Just being there (ministry of presence)
 Recognition of normal stages of life (illness & death)

 Recognition of normal stages that are celebrations and
happy occasions too
 Share in celebration of the joys
 We cheer on the successes, even the small ones; and
abiding with them during the bad times
 We support each other

Active Listening Review

Productive Questions
Perception Check

Active Listening: Paraphrase
 Saying back in your own words what the
speaker has just said
 Doesn’t deal with emotions unless they were
directly mentioned by the speaker

 Checks reception of information and identifies
missing information

 Speaker feels like they have been heard

Active Listening: Productive Questions
 Questions based on: Free information (ideas or

feelings); Deleted information; Distortions (words of
inclusion or exclusion); Responses to other questions
you have asked

 Productive questions are the FUEL for the
conversation and encouragement to reflection
 Used to prompt the speaker’s story
 Questions give the speaker permission to share
more about themselves and their concerns
 Can be based on facts, ideas, or feelings

Active Listening: Perception Check
 As a listener, we watch for clues about:
 Feelings they have said
 Feelings they have implied in their story or tone
 Non-verbal expressions and body language

 Then we repeat back what we think we heard or
observed (without dismissing, discounting, or
sounding judgmental)
 “You sound…” or “It sounds like…”

 “You seem…” or “It seems like…”
 “I am noticing that…”

Skill Practice: Paraphrase
 Saying back in your own words what’s
been said
 You are saying that…

 What I hear you saying is that…
 You are telling me that…
 If I am hearing you right, you are…

 Let me say what I am hearing…
 So…

Skill Practice: Productive Questions
 Questions based on:
 Free information (ideas or feelings)

 Deleted information
 Distortions (words of inclusion or exclusion)
 Responses to other questions you have asked

 Can be based on facts, ideas, or feelings

Skill Practice: Perception Check

 Based on feelings said, feelings implied, or
non-verbal cues

 Stems:
“You sound…” or “It sounds like…”
“You seem…” or “It seems like…”

“I am noticing that…”

Skill Practice

Productive Questions
Perception Check

Self-Reference & Use of Self

Listening is the OPPOSITE of
talking about yourself, isn’t it?

Is it ever okay to talk about

Self-Reference & Use of Self

What are some of the Pro’s in favor
of Self Reference?

Self-Reference & Use of Self
Arguments FOR Self Reference:

 Convey empathy and facilitate the relationship
 Provide feedback about the impact of the care
receiver on others
 Model self disclosure to a more closed care
 Reassure care receivers and normalize their
 Care givers who self disclose (appropriately)
are consistently rated by care receivers as
more helpful

Self-Reference & Use of Self

What are some of the Con’s
against Self Reference?

Self-Reference & Use of Self
Arguments AGAINST Self Reference:

 Care givers may disclose to meet their own
 Manipulate or control care receivers

 Defend their own actions or behaviors
 Has the potential to harm care receivers if done
improperly or insensitively

 Shifts focus of conversation to care giver
instead of care receiver
 Blur boundaries and burden care receiver

Self-Reference & Use of Self
 Self Involving Responses
 Expressions of feelings and reactions to the
speaker in the present interaction (immediacy)
 Can “join” the care receiver’s experiences and
feelings with your own
 Responses that explicitly convey empathy

 Self Disclosing Reponses
 Information about caregiver and their
experiences outside of the present interaction
 Help to build rapport and share connection of
similar experiences

Self-Reference & Use of Self
 Focus and intention should remain on care
 Make sure there is a conscious purpose to any
self involving response that is relevant and
beneficial to the present interaction
 Be aware when focus of conversation is on

 Common to have some give & take – this is
how rapport and relationship are built
 “Three-sentence” rule

Boundaries and Ethics
Information & Confidentiality
Connection to minister & PC leaders
Limits (your own & congregation’s)


Spiritual Assessment
 Spiritual assessment is a means of looking at
the larger picture of a person’s spiritual wellbeing, especially as it relates to their resilience
 Helps in creating the plan of care for that
person and in determining how to best support
them at that time
 Reminds the caregiver of elements which may
be significant to the care receiver
 Encourages reflection and meaning-making for
the care receiver

Using Spiritual Assessment
 Internal to caregiver
 Listen for different elements as they arise in

 Directly present in conversation
 Help guide productive questions

 Will likely be focusing on only one area in any
given conversation or series of conversations

 Overall assessment
 Snapshot of spiritual well-being of care receiver
 Good for assessing overall resilience and coping

Four Part Spiritual Assessment

1.Sense of the Holy

1) Sense of the Holy
 What is the care receiver’s sense or
understanding of the holy?
 What are the sources outside of themselves
to which they look for strength?

 Where does their strength come from?
 How is this important to them?
 What helps to remind them of this

2) Meaning/Direction
 What is the care receiver’s sense of
meaning and direction in their life?

 How clear is it to them right now?
 What is their sense of the meaning of their
current circumstances?

 How does this impact their overall meaning
and direction?
 Is their overall sense of meaning and
direction something they are comfortable
with and confident about?

3) Hope
 What are they hopeful for?

 How resilient is their sense of hope?
 Are you sensing any despair or

 How bearable is their current situation?
 Resist the temptation to try and give
someone else hope – hope is entirely
internal and must be found individually.

4) Community/Relatedness
 What ties and supports does the care
receiver have that sustains them?

 How strong or dependable are these ties?
 Does this person have a lot of resources or
only a few?

 How close are they to family members?
(both geographically close and emotionally
 What is their support like from friends and
other communities or acquaintances?

Practicing Spiritual Assessment

1.Sense of the Holy

Koenig’s 10 Spiritual Needs
1) A need to make sense of the illness
2) A need for purpose and meaning in the
midst of illness

3) A need for spiritual beliefs to be
acknowledged, respected, and supported
4) A need to transcend the illness and the
5) A need to feel in control and to give up

Koenig’s 10 Spiritual Needs

6) A need to feel connected and cared for

7) A need to acknowledge and cope with
the notion of dying and death
8) A need to forgive and be forgiven
9) A need to be thankful in the midst of
10) A need for hope

Conversational Care Gates
 A care gate is an avenue into which a
caring conversation can go
 Only one gate can really be deeply
engaged in a single conversation

 Goal is listening for the gate that the
care receiver is engaging or struggling
with at that time
 The caregiver then seeks to help the
care receiver open up their feelings and
experiences through that “gate”
Source: Lewis, James Michael. "Pastoral assessment in hospital ministry: a
conversational approach." Chaplaincy Today 18, no. 2 (Autumn-Winter 2002): 5-13.

Conversational Care Gates
 Awareness of Mystery & Renewal
 Sense of Understanding
 Sense of Faith & Balance
 Sense of Gratitude or Grace
 Sense of Re/Conciliation

 Loving & Being Loved
 Sense of Meaning & Direction