Introduction

What Is Spiritual Care?

All of us have spiritual needs no matter where we may be on our life journey.  From finding ourselves wrestling with large spiritual questions about the existence or the presence of the spiritual divine in our lives to our struggles when we find ourselves with an illness, personal setback, or dealing with anxiety about our future, spiritual care is the process through tending to one’s spiritual needs no matter our religious beliefs or faith background.

For those of us who are chaplains, we dedicate ourselves to being a spiritual presence in the lives of others as they wrestle with the important questions in their lives.  While the majority of chaplains come from specific faith backgrounds, we are not to impose our religious or faith beliefs on those whom we are seeking to provide spiritual care.  Rather, it’s our call to meet people where they are at spiritually, guiding them through the difficult questions and moments of life and helping them find value and strength in what gives them purpose and meaning. No matter the setting in which chaplains serve, we are tasked with the need to be inclusive to all people no matter of their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, or political views.

Chaplains and those in spiritual care help individuals deal with:

  • Alienation
  • Meaning and purpose
  • Guilt
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Anger/frustration
  • Mortality
  • Fear of suffering or death
  • Sense of loss of control of one’s health
  • Relational tensions with family members
  • Fear of suffering or death

The process of becoming a chaplain requires not just education, but also comprehensive training, ecclesiastical endorsements, and the desire to be inclusive to all people regardless of who they are, where their story begins, or how they identify themselves.  It’s our call to help individuals through active listening, guided meditation, and prayer so they may find ways to see the divine in their lives no matter how they may define it.