A training project was conducted in 2006 to evaluate ways of providing training using Clinical Pastoral Education for pastoral carers who have differing faith traditions, and yet are able to offer pastoral care to people of different faith traditions.
This project was co-sponsored by Canberra and Regional Center for Spiritual Care and Clinical Pastoral Education, and Pastoral Care Board of the ACT.
Features of the program
The program provided a philosophy of pastoral care that provides opportunities for care of an individual without conflict with a particular faith tradition. Participants were provided didactic teaching and discussion about pastoral care, together with take home papers each week for further reading. There were sessions that provided workshop and action/reflection activities to enable practice of the skills of pastoral care. In the final week, each trainee had the opportunity to present a verbatim, about a pastoral care encounter they had experienced, for group supervision.
There were four aspects that were addressed. These were interwoven throughout the course.
- A sharing by each participant of the unique focus of their own faith tradition that might test and challenge the assumptions which underlie this philosophy and approach to the provision of pastoral care.
- The introduction of a philosophy that sought to provide a framework that enabled people from differing faith traditions to mutually develop pastoral care without causing conflict with their traditional and personal beliefs.
- An understanding of pastoral care as a caring modality.
- An awareness of and introduction to the skills involved in pastoral care.
Training programs that are being conducted by the Pastoral Education Center reflect aspects from this project.
Experiences from the course
Over the period of the ten days of the course, participants affirmed the relevance of the underlying philosophy in assisting to focus on providing care for a person, in such a way as to affirm that person’s faith tradition and without imposing one’s own expectations.
The evaluation comments of the participants are found at the end of the report. This is a sample of the verbal and written comments made at the end of the course:
|“In contrast to the past, I can now relate easier to people of other faiths or no faith.”|
|“It has been an experience of understanding human faith (rather than only from my own religious perspective) – no barriers.”|
|“I discovered how to seek the meaning from others rather than approach with my own projections.”|
|“I found how to be open to others and listen to them without imposing a religious perspective.”|
|“I found how to be clear about my perspective and identity so as to be confident in myself when seeking to stand beside others.”|
|“The approach of this philosophy enabled me to reframe my use of “religion”, thus removing previously conceived barriers.”|
|“Hope that others will be involved.”|
Graduates of the first program conducted over 10 days during 2006