Information about psychological resources and courses for clergy can be found here.
Diocesan Counselling Service
"Below you will find details of the Diocesan Counselling Service available to clergy and licensed layworkers in the Diocese, as well as to their spouses and dependent children, a service which I am able to subsidise from my discretionary fund.
Counselling can bring great benefit when we feel hard pressed by personal or ministerial circumstances. If you feel it might be of help to you should be in touch, in the first instance, with the Bishop's Adviser in Pastoral Care and Counselling, Dr David Mair. I want to stress that the identity of those using the service is confidential to him, the counsellor concerned and the people themselves.
The Counselling service also offers consultation supervision and reflective practice groups. I commend all these to you as a resource for our development and growth as people and ministers."
Who is the counselling service for?
The counselling service provides emotional and psychological help for clergy, their spouses/partners, their dependent children, full time lay workers, diocesan employees and recommended Ordinands. In exceptional cases others may be eligible; please contact Sarah Cooke, for details.
What is counselling?
Counselling offers a confidential relationship with a qualified and experienced person (who has no other role in a client's life) through which to explore personal issues and values, increase self-awareness, facilitate personal growth and develop new ways of addressing problem areas of life.
Some of the kinds of issues which people bring to counselling are:
- anxiety and panic attacks
- bereavement and loss
- difficulties in relationships, both personal and professional
- the pressure and stresses of ministry
- suicidal thoughts and feelings
- transitional life events or crises
It is important to stress that you do not need to be in crisis to seek or benefit from counselling. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, rather it signifies courage and maturity.
The counselling team
The Bishop of Worcester appoints and finances the work of an Adviser in Pastoral Care and Counselling whose primary role is to co-ordinate the Diocesan Counselling Service. The Adviser also holds a wider brief for the well-being of clergy and is involved in other initiatives which aim to support clergy in their personal and ministerial development.
The Worcester Diocesan Counselling Service is co-ordinated by Dr David Mair. In the first instance, he should be contacted and will offer an exploratory consultation to determine whether counselling will be appropriate or whether some other kind of help may be more suitable.
Normally, he would then refer a client to one of a team of counsellors who are geographically spaced around the Diocese and who hold a range of expertise between them for work with individuals, couples and families.
Counsellors work on a self-employed basis. They are trained to a minimum of diploma level, are supervised in their work, and hold their own professional indemnity insurance. Every counsellor has an understanding and awareness of the Christian faith, the context in which clergy work and the particular difficulties which can arise from this.
All counsellors subscribe to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Code of Ethics and the Adviser subscribes to the ethical code of the British Psychoanalytic Council.
What does counselling cost?
The counselling service is normally able to offer up to 12 sessions. The first six are free; every client discusses with their counsellor whether they can make a contribution towards the second group of sessions.
This is crucial to the effectiveness of the counselling relationship. Client identity is known only to the Adviser and the counsellor to whom they are referred. This respects privacy and establishes trust.
It is only in exceptional circumstances that it may be appropriate to break confidentiality if a client is at risk of serious harm to themselves or another; in such rare circumstances the counsellor would still, if at all possible, discuss this with the client.
Clergy who are interested in thinking about their work in a reflective confidential space but do not wish to join a group can access individual supervision through the Diocesan Counselling Service. Please contact David Mair for more details.
Professional and Personal Development Groups
The diocesan counselling service is offering clergy two groups aimed at developing reflexivity and professiona skills, beginning in February 2022.
The Balint-Style Reflective Practice Group will be running once again between February and December. It will run for 13 sessions over the year – approximately every 3 weeks, term time only. There are a limited number of spaces this year if you would like to participate. The aim of the group is to provide a confidential and supportive environment in which clergy can think more deeply about their work and its impact on them. If you have any questions, or would like to join the group please contact Sarah Cooke via email or on 01386 442253 or . Details of place, venue and dates are here.
The Developing Emotional Wellbeing group is a new group for a maximum of 10 people, running until June. It offers the chance to apply psychological models of self-and-other understanding to challenging personal and professional situations. The facilitator is Dr David Mair, Bishop's Adviser on Pastoral Care and Counselling, and the venue is Holland House. For more details click here. Email David or call 07535 962777.
About Dr David Mair
David originally trained as a counsellor with Relate in the 1990’s. He then studied for a master’s degree after which he spent 25 years as a student counsellor. Until 2017 he was Head of Counselling and Wellbeing at the University of Birmingham and is currently an Associate Lecturer with the Open University alongside running his private practice. He completed a doctorate in psychotherapy in 2010 and is a Senior Accredited Psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
David has been part of the dicoesan counselling team for the past six years and before that was part of the parallel team in the Diocese of Birmingham.
“I would encourage any member of the clergy or their family who might be worried about their mental health to approach the counselling team for help sooner rather than later. This includes anything that might be worrying them, causing stress and anxiety or that they feel is interfering with their relationships. It is hugely important that clergy take good care of themselves and are able to recognise when help might be needed. If something feels wrong – come and talk about it.”
David lives in Worcester and enjoys contact with Mucknell Abbey. He is a keen walker, gardener and enthusiastic owner of two very lively cockapoos!
Contact David via email or on 07535962777
(Please note 'that from 14 July - 31 August, David Mair is on leave. He will respond to all emails on his return.)