YAC resources: Peer Chaplaincy Activity
“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say” Emerson
There may be times someone will come to you who is hurting, confused or just needs a listening ear. To be a peer chaplain is to listen deeply, with compassion. Deep listening requires inner strength, recognizing the dignity and worth of the person you’re listening to and acting with compassion. This person is your equal, radical acceptance means withholding judgement. You are practicing “listening your way to their truth.” Deep listening may reveal secrets in your own heart, a common ground or collective consciousness you weren’t previously aware of. Questions are more effective than advice. Chaplains illuminate paths to truth, not truth itself.
In a peer chaplaincy role, you must maintain clear boundaries with the person who comes to you. This is different role than friendship. Avoid sharing your personal experience, this is about the other person, not you. If the person asks for advice, you can give it, but don’t give unsolicited advice. If someone comes to you with a problem that feels over your head, tell them that you will help them find an adult that can help. If someone confides in you that they want to hurt themselves or anyone else, go immediately to an adult who will handle the situation.
What sort of verbal and non-verbal communication skills would a peer chaplain use?
What if someone comes to you with something really heavy to talk about?
Have you ever had someone play the role of peer chaplain for you? What was it like?
In pairs, find a quite place to sit, or you can take a walk together. One at a time, practice with each other the role of peer chaplain. The first person can talk about something that’s bothering them now, or something that bothered them in the past. The peer chaplain can ask leading questions to encourage the other person but avoid giving advice or relating personal experience. If there is silence, that’s totally fine. After five minutes, switch roles.
What was it like to share your thoughts/feelings with a peer chaplain?
What was it like to act in the role of peer chaplain?
Posted Monday, 12 September 2011 16:01 Written by Jennica Davis