Pastoral care means caring for the soul and it is a free confidential conversation with a pastor.
The term pastoral care (in danish: sjælesorg) means caring for the soul. Pastoral care conversations are the conversations you can have with a pastor. The conversation can be about existential or spiritual topics regarding whatever is on your mind. Here at sjalesorg.nu you can have an anonymous chat from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Everyone can get a pastoral care conversation regardless of gender, age, or religion, and you don’t have to be a member of the Lutheran Church.
10 Questions and answers about Pastoral Care Online
1. What is the meaning of the term ‘pastoral care’ (in Danish: sjælesorg)?
The word sjælesorg means caring for the soul, and many would link the word with grief (in danish: sorg) regarding a loss of someone you love. But the word actually comes from the danish word omsorg (in English: care), as a care in all kinds of situations where you find difficulties, find yourself in a crisis or in need of sharing an existential dilemma.
2. What is Sjaelesorg.nu?
Sjaelesorg.nu – or “Pastoral Care Online” (in Danish: Sjælesorg på Nettet) as we also call ourselves – is a free chat service, where you, in our opening hours, can get a confidential conversation with a pastoral carer about whatever is bothering you. Topics that you wish to go over with another person, who is ready to listen.
Sjaelesorg.nu is an offer, supported by the joint fond of the Lutheran Church and the 10 dioceses in Denmark. We have our own steering group, following group, a day-to-day manager and several pastors, who works as pastoral carers online.
3. What do I get out of chatting with a pastor?
You get the opportunity to chat with a person, who is used to talking to others and in particular wants to listen and take you seriously.
The pastoral carers are pastors who are educated and trained in meeting the person contacting them, where the person is mentally and emotionally. The pastoral carer knows when to listen and when to ask about your thoughts and feelings. The pastoral carer can also help by referring you to other experts, counsellors, or organizations if needed.
4. What topics can I approach the pastoral carer with?
I reality, you can write about anything on your mind. Often, it is the existential topics that takes up a lot of space – like loneliness, divorce, loss, grief, despair, fear, anxiety, identity crisis, guilt, failure, love, doubt, and faith.
Or it can be break-ups, family conflicts, bullying, performance- and exam anxiety or the feeling of not being good enough. There is no “real” or “wrong” topics when you contact the pastoral carer.
5. Will my contact be registered or publicized?
No. You are 100 % anonymous when you chat at sjaelesorg.nu. We can’t see who you are or where you are writing from. We only care about what you tell us. Your conversation will neither be saved nor registered.
Pastors are included in extended confidentiality, which among other things means that they can not be called as witnesses in a court – unlike psychologists, doctors, and lawyers.
6. Will our chat not just end up being about God, faith, and all that?
No. The conversation will be about exactly what you want to talk about. It is important that pastors are educated to preach, keep communion, baptism and so on, but the pastors at sjaelesorg.nu is also educated in pastoral care. That means to support, listen, and comfort through conversation about topics that you need to talk about, or the thoughts and emotions that you need to process. That is the essentials of our chat.
7. Do I have to believe in God or be a member of the Lutheran Church to use the chat?
No. Anyone can chat with the pastoral carers – no matter their religious beliefs, ethnicity, or other circumstances.
8. Can I find out who the pastoral carers are?
The anonymity covers both those who contact the pastoral carers and the pastoral carer themselves. The anonymity secures a conversational space free of prejudice. You can be sure that you will get to talk to a pastoral carer who is an educated pastor and an experienced pastoral carer and interlocutor.
9. How does a chat conversation take place?
There is no strict formula for how a conversation should happen. It is mostly up to you and your wants and thought. You decide the pace and topics of the conversation. It is all on your terms.
10. Why is the chat function not open 24 hours?
Unfortunately, there is not enough personnel to keep the chat open around the clock, but it is open in the period where we know that there is the highest search count on our website. You can see the current opening hours on our frontpage of sjaelesorg.nu.