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Pastoral care is a type of counseling provided by professional chaplains and trained spiritual leaders. It involves nonjudgmental, compassionate listening that welcomes people to share their joys, concerns, and hopes in the context of their full humanity, and for many, their philosophy, religion, or spirituality.

At the Tufts University Chaplaincy, our chaplains are:

  • Confidential resources
  • Open and affirming of LGBTQIA identities
  • Available to anyone in the Tufts community, regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs

Please find the answers to commonly asked questions below, and you can always email the University Chaplaincy to learn more.

You can use the form below to contact a chaplain.

A chaplain and student face each other, both seated, smiling

09/11/2019 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Walker Bristol, A14, Humanist Chaplain and Justin Tavares, E22, pose for a portrait together at the Interfaith Center on September 11, 2019. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Chaplains are here for you

Chaplains are trained to provide care to you, no matter your identities. Find answers to common questions below, connect with us for any further questions.

What does pastoral care look like?

Pastoral care creates a space for you to bring any and all parts of yourself. A pastoral care provider offers a calm presence, can provide spiritual resources, and share in practices like meditation, storytelling, or prayer. Tufts chaplains are able and eager to offer you space. Space to deepen your religious or philosophical identities, space to process a difficult event, space to explore your own big questions. Tufts chaplains can provide insights from a particular tradition and accompany you as you determine what is true for you. Chaplains are also available to check in when you are just not feeling like yourself.

Who offers pastoral care?

At Tufts, chaplains offer pastoral care. They are trained to provide care to anyone in the Tufts community. All Tufts chaplains are affirming of all gender identities and sexual orientations. All chaplains are confidential. At Tufts, this means they are not mandated reportersYou can learn more about each of the chaplains on our Meet the Team page, and contact them through their emails or by emailing the University Chaplaincy.

Why might someone seek a chaplain for pastoral care?
A pastoral care provider offers a calm presence, can provide spiritual resources, and share in practices like meditation, storytelling, or prayer. People often seek pastoral care to process grief, for support in their identity formation, and to seek the wisdom of a particular tradition through prayer, scripture study, or meditation. Chaplains are also available to check in when you just aren’t feeling like yourself.
Do I have to be religious?
Our chaplains are trained to provide care to anyone in the Tufts community. You are also welcome to contact a chaplain within a tradition that you are familiar with, or a chaplain in any faith or wisdom tradition. You do not have to have to have any familiarity with religious or philosophical traditions to connect with and be supported by a Tufts chaplain.
Are meetings one time or regular?
Pastoral care sessions can range from a one-time meeting to a couple of times in a semester. A session is usually about an hour. Your chaplain will work with you to identify other support resources, should that be helpful to you.
What distinct training does a chaplain have?
Chaplains are trained through their education, ordination, and pastoral experience to be resources on the spiritual journeys of diverse people. While chaplains are endorsed by a particular tradition or organization to serve in their role and have unique expertise in that tradition, they all are expected to work in a multifaith capacity. Some chaplains undergo clinical training through programs like Clinical Pastoral Education.

Chaplains can connect you to communities

Chaplains also support religious and philosophical student organizations (RPSOs) on campus, and work to sustain communities on campus. If you are interested in learning more about a particular community on campus, please reach out to a chaplain. Please find the answers to commonly asked questions below.

What is the role of a chaplain in relationship to a student community?
The chaplains support the leaders of our student communities and help create programming for specific religious and philosophical traditions. Chaplains are available as a confidential support resource to anyone, including members of our student communities.
What is an RPSO and what role do our student communities play in pastoral care at Tufts?
Our religious and philosophical organizations (RPSOs) make space for community members to live out and explore their spiritual identities. They are important points of connection for many students at Tufts, and are supported by our student leaders, chaplain staff, and collaborative partners across the university.
How can I reach out to a student leader of an RPSO?
The contact information for the student leaders of our RPSOs is available on our Student Communities web page.

Chaplains are part of a network of care on Tufts campuses

Tufts chaplains support the entire Tufts community, including faculty, staff, and students, on all Tufts campuses. Please see below for the answers to commonly asked questions about emotional and spiritual support at Tufts.

How does pastoral care and the University Chaplaincy fit into support resources on campus?
Pastoral care is a process of accompaniment on the large questions of life, meaning, and identity, especially spiritual identity. Like many other resources on campus, chaplains offer emotional support and reflective listening, though our unique training is in.
What are confidential resources on campus?
Confidential resources are not obligated to report violations of Title IX to the Office of Equal Opportunity. Many people seek support from confidential resources while deciding how they want to proceed in situations of sexual harassment or sexual violence. For more information about confidential resources, visit the confidential resource page on the Tufts CARE website.
When would a chaplain refer someone to another resource on campus?
Chaplains work collaboratively with partners on campus to make sure our community members have the support they need. Chaplains can put you in touch with on-campus resources for mental health, physical health, substance use recovery, and academic support as needed, while continuing to support you in your experience.
How can I contact other resources on campus?

Counseling and Mental Health Services provides confidential counseling support for students navigating their mental health and well-being.

Tufts Health Services provides care for acute illness and injury, chronic conditions, and routine healthcare needs.

The Center for Awareness, Resources, and Education offers confidential support and education around sexual health, sexual misconduct, and healthy relationships.

The Haven at Tufts provides support for enrolled students struggling with substance abuse disorders including counseling, group work, and substance-free housing.

Contact A Chaplain

Please include your name and email below. You may also include anything you would like a chaplain to know before meeting. You will be contacted by a chaplain to find time to talk. If this is an emergency, please call 617-627-3030 and ask for the counselor on call; please note you will not receive an immediate response by submitting this form.
  • Please note, this question is optional.