Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thoughts on Pastoral Presence

One of the most frequent interventions a Chaplain writes about is Pastoral Presence.  Just what is involved in Pastoral Presence?  It sounds sort of nebulous, doesn’t it? May I suggest a few ideas on how you convey ‘presence’…


Pastoral Presence means:

  • Being compassionate and empathetic
  • Being respectful and non-judgmental
  • Being genuine and authentic
  • Being trustworthy
  • Being fully present with the patient
  • Valuing the worth of the patient
  • Maintaining boundaries
  • Being emotionally honest
    Part of your professional growth and development will be to figure out the “how” on these ideas.  Become a student of body language.  Learn what you are saying with how you sit, how your face communicates, how your arms communicate.  I can promise you that being present is not just sitting there hoping the patient will stop talking, or if the patient is not communicative looking at your watch to see if you stayed long enough to claim a visit.  Being engaged with the patient in ‘presence’ is the goal.  Making that deep inner connection is another way of describing presence.  Your thoughts?


Ed Reese said...

Totally agree, and would add that another skill we must master in this day of increasingly objective, measurable notes is how we document this to show empirically how it helps the patient. I'd be interested in your thoughts in that regard.

Richard Behers said...

Sure, Ed. I will be happy to do that. I will be doing a series on clinical documentation that will cover your suggestion. Thanks for your interest in this blog. I welcome yours and others feedback so we can move our profession forward.