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How do you picture the work of military chaplains? Carl Aiken

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Presentation on theme: "How do you picture the work of military chaplains? Carl Aiken"— Presentation transcript:


2 How do you picture the work of military chaplains? Carl Aiken

3 Some images…..

4 Performing Ritual

5 Relating

6 Identifying

7 A bit about me…. 17 years Army Reserve service Postings in Health, Logistics and Training Operational Deployments # Pakistan Assist – Humanitarian Operation # Middle East Area of Operations 10 years health care chaplaincy experience

8 Seminar based on article in ADF Health Journal – Dec 2008

9 The Military Chaplaincy Doctrine The provision of religious ministry, pastoral care, character and moral guidance, advice to commanders and supervisors re religious, morale and welfare issues.

10 Presentation conflicts with Reality Presentation and Image of Army chaplains as predominantly dispensers of religious care Reality of the role is highly pastoral and relational

11 Military Chaplains are highly Skilled Military training in leadership, critical incident management, problem solving, suicide prevention Solid foundation in religious, moral and ethical issues Live with the reality of the conflict of serving both God and the military Strong collaboration between chaplains

12 On the ground Or Chaplaincy in an Operational Environment My main role was the provision of pastoral care and counselling The issues included The moral legitimacy of conflict Relationships with coalition partners The reality of conflict – danger, death and injury


14 Operational Environment....continued Living conditions - proximity and lack of privacy - working relationships Harsh physical environment The stuff from home - illness/death of parents/siblings/children - children’s issues – behaviour, school performance, missing parent - spouse issues – separation, parenting, work, house, coping


16 The Problem On operational deployment issues such as bereavement, coping with separation or stress and relationship breakdown were treated as medical or psychological problems (‘medicalised’) or as administrative issues The relationships and responsibilities between the caring professions of medical, psychological and chaplaincy were generally not well defined or understood

17 The Problem....continued The early or inappropriate use of medical and/or psychological services overwhelms excellent but limited resources Coalition partners have ‘worked this space’ much more effectively and with greater understanding and co-operation.

18 Operational Chaplaincy Chaplains are an under utilised operational resource – a holistic approach would address this

19 Key Issues Good mental health and personal resilience are important in enabling service personnel to cope with the rigours of deployment, perform at a high standard, and return home in good emotional and psychological health The values and beliefs that an individual holds – the essence of spirituality – and significant components of resilience are ignored in the Australian context.

20 Military Chaplaincy & Healthcare Chaplaincy Both have hierarchy Chaplains valued but not understood

21 The differences…….. Health Care Chaplaincy Multi-faith environment Holistic/multi-disciplinary setting with case conferences Sharing information Consolidated notes and information Military Chaplaincy Religious emphasis Isolation of care sectors Training for crisis and military leadership

22 Bringing it Together in Chaplaincy 1 The World Health Organisation Pastoral Care Codes (ICD 10-AM) I used the code on ops to quantify what I did…it works outside of health!!! Provides a great framework

23 Bringing it Together in Chaplaincy 2 Our value as Chaplains is in both settings! The key tool of our trade is the pastoral conversation Our focus is being with not doing to

24 Coalition partners Chaplains embedded in preparation for operations and return from theatre are programs Battlemind Program Warrior transition program Doctor, financial advisor, marriage/family therapist/….chaplain led

25 Plea to Chaplains Focus on the ‘care chain of command’ Claim your ground and competencies Recognise your unique contribution Understand that you have the networks!!! Military, civilian, welfare … that others don’t



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