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A hospital chaplain, as a representative of a religious tradition, uses the insights and principles of psychology, religion, spirituality and theology in working with individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve wholeness and health.
A chaplain, lay or ordained, provides spiritual support and pastoral care to patients and their families. All chaplains are willing to support and encourage people of all religious faiths.
The counseling they provide includes crisis intervention, grief ministry, family support counseling, presurgical and postsurgical counseling, worship leadership and preaching, religious sacramental ministry, staff counseling, and support and education.
Clinical pastoral services are offered in many settings. In hospitals, mental health facilities, correctional institutions, children's hospitals and nursing homes, a chaplain ministers to individuals, families and small groups.
Clinical pastoral counseling may be done in any setting where ministry happens. Many centers with innovative approaches to ministry are being established as congregational- or community-based models in connection with local churches.
Available jobs are advertised in chaplaincy trade publications and are available nationwide. Competition for positions will vary with the number of qualified candidates and depends on the denominations and geographic regions.
The average salary for a staff chaplain is approximately $45,000. Heads of large chaplaincy departments can earn around $60,000.