Pastoral Care

Pastoral care is a type of care and counseling provided by spiritual leaders. It involves nonjudgmental and compassionate listening that allows people to share their joys, concerns, and hopes in the context of their full humanity, and for many, their spirituality or philosophy. It has the goal of fostering a person’s spiritual and existential wellbeing, and, if desired, it can include spiritual guidance, scripture study, and prayer or meditation. It can provide an opportunity for confidential conversation in the context of a holistic network of support.

Tufts University Chaplaincy chaplains and residents may provide pastoral care upon request to any member of the Tufts community.

Tufts community members may request pastoral care appointments by visiting, calling, or emailing the University Chaplaincy office or any chaplain or resident directly. If needed, a chaplain-on-call may be reached at any hour by calling the Tufts University Police Department at 617-627-3030.

University Chaplaincy staff and affiliates are confidential resources and cannot be mandated to report the contents of confidential conversations. However, in order to protect a person from harming themselves or others, or to address the abuse or neglect of a child, elder, or disabled adult, they may ethically choose to make a report. (Only the chaplains and residents are official pastoral care providers, but all University Chaplaincy staff and affiliates are confidential in order to facilitate scheduling and referrals to the chaplains and residents.)

For cases of sexual misconduct or assault, the University Chaplaincy is one of three on-campus confidential resources, along with Health and Wellness Services and Counseling and Mental Health Services. The University Chaplaincy can provide a space for pastoral care and for exploring resources and options. The University Chaplaincy is not a reporting resource for sexual misconduct or assault; reporting resources include TUPD, the Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics Point, or any other university administrator. The University Chaplaincy also does not provide official advice about or become involved in adjudication processes.

Tufts University Chaplaincy chaplains and residents generally observe a 3, one-hour session maximum number of pastoral care visits per person per pastoral issue. If further pastoral care is needed beyond a third session, we will generally offer resources for referral. This is necessary so that we can remain available to serve other members of the Tufts community.

The University Chaplaincy keeps no records of pastoral care conversations, so they cannot be requested or become part of any student or personnel record.

University Chaplaincy programs and services, including pastoral care, are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any physical or mental illness, and we encourage people to seek out other professionals for physical and mental health care.

Any questions about this policy should be directed to the University Chaplain.

A University Chaplaincy resource on Grief and Healing is available here.