Special feature: SHA’s Cheryl Holmes podcast

In this episode of the Opening Up Chaplaincy podcast, Cheryl speaks about leading SHA for over twenty years, and the ongoing journey to integrate an inclusive approach to spiritual care that encompasses all worldviews to offer everyone a sense of relevance and belonging.


Episode Description:

Cheryl Holmes has been involved in the Spiritual Health Association in Australia for 20 years, seeing the organisation transform from an interchurch chaplaincy committee to a prominent advocate for compassionate, person-centred spiritual care in health services. Cheryl draws on global sources for the development of coherent and accessible spiritual practice; we talk about the need to take an inclusive approach that encompasses all worldviews, not as add-ons to an established model, but from the outset, making sure our practices give everyone a sense of relevance and belonging.

Cheryl is keen to separate out the qualities needed to be a spiritual care professional (see SHA framework) and the times when a religious chaplain might be called upon, pointing out the distinctions between spiritual care and religious care. We discuss the importance of language (what you are called; how you open conversations) and the need to ‘give permission’ to people to have conversations that go to deep places, but also recognising that this is not universally appreciated or relevant. Cheryl challenges the notion that we go in with ‘no agenda’ – but that could be a whole other podcast! Together, we recognise how far we are yet to travel to embrace an inclusive and integrated approach to spiritual care.

Visit our podcasts page for more great conversations about spiritual care.