Transforming Practices Services

Membership Application:
            Forms with details on conditions of membership and application form please see HERE

Individual Supervision:
            Either face to face, by phone or through the use of Skype. See profiles
           There are no forums planned for 2020. Keep an eye out for when these can resume.

Pastoral Supervisory Training: 
           Details here

Who is Transforming Practices?

Transforming Practices is a Community of Practice 

  • As a Community of Practice, Transforming Practices is a group of active practitioners of Pastoral Supervision and related practices of Pastoral Care.

  • Pastoral supervisors and practitioners can participate in a variety of ways in Transforming Practices as a community of practice.

  • Members of Transforming Practices, and in particular the Management Committee, provide a communal meeting space to support learning for several kinds of pastoral practice.

  • Transforming Practices also provides a meeting space in which they and other Pastoral Supervisors can come together to share the fruits of their best pastoral supervision practice, reflect with their colleagues on questions and challenges that emerge from their current practice, and provide support for each other to attain professional goals.

  • Pastoral supervisors and pastoral practitioners can also participate in the community of practice of Transforming Practices through Forums for Professional Development that bring them together with wise and skilled practitioners whose learning within related fields of practice are enabling for practices of pastoral care. These Forums likewise enable reflection among colleagues on questions and challenges that emerge from their current practice, and provide support for each other to attain our professional goals.

What is Pastoral Supervision/Consultation with Transforming Practices Inc?

Transforming Practices members follow a transformative education model of Pastoral Supervision/Consultation. This enables learners to express their faith and values through reflection on their pastoral practice in a critically informed way.

This places emphasis on developing awareness and fostering strengths in individuals, groups, and communities, and action to transform systems and contexts of practice.
Transforming Practices Inc is a not-for-profit organisation for mutual support and development of practitioners who offer external and confidential pastoral supervision/consultation for supervisees who seek to reflect upon their work environment. 

Who is it for?

Pastoral Supervision is for practitioners from various pastoral care contexts, education, community work, administration and other workplaces.

Comments from people who engage in Pastoral Supervision

"I value pastoral supervision in my ministry practice, as it has given me a safe place, outside my ministry setting to talk about issues I'm dealing with in the Parish that is confidential. It allows me the space to step back and reflect on what is going on in the church, how I am responding to that, and gives me a place to think clearly about my attitudes, different ways in which I might understand the people whom I'm working with, and how I can work to my best.

In my earlier ministry years, when I worked in a highly conflicted Parish setting, Pastoral supervision was life line for me, to work out how to deal with some difficult people, how to care for myself when I felt under enormous pressure and how to bring the spiritual resources of the Christian faith to bear on people's behaviour within the church community. This enabled me to have confidence in what I was seeking to do, and to trust that I had drawn on some of the best wisdom, in order to bring conflict resolution and move forward.

Over the years, whilst supervision is a requirement in my denomination, I believe that I would not have continued in ministry for a long period, without it. To have another pastoral practitioner journey with you, in your ministry, and who seeks to enable you to understand yourself better and to enable you to learn and grow through your ministry experience, and continue to keep spiritually alive an vital, is a gift to the church and to all people in Ministry. I wouldn't be in ministry today, without it and God has blessed me through the journey."  
Female Parish Minister

As a lay person whose previous vocational life was as a practising Chartered Accountant for some three decades and then an executive director with a corporate services role in a certain denomination, I must say that I wished I had used professional supervision in my lay life, especially when in significant leadership roles.  
Lay worker

I first encountered Pastoral Supervision as a part of the job description for university chaplaincy. I was very pleased to find it was a support to my dealing with staff and students pastorally but also the university as an institution by giving me space to reflect on my experiences and plan strategies for engaging confidently in what was a new area of ministry for me.  
Catholic priest

My basic reason for seeking supervision in ministry was to find a place where I could reflect on my ministry as a priest with a skilled person who could help me understand what was happening, what I needed to do and work on strategies to help me in the challenging ministry situations in which I found myself.  
Catholic Priest

I felt the need to debrief in a safe space. I felt holding on to traumatic and challenging issues that I was hearing about, at times created an anxiety that would sometimes spill over to my personal life and blur my view. I realised I needed to explore my emotions with a professional pastoral supervisor in a way that helped me to see how I relate to the client and to best channel my experience of life's challenges - theirs and mine.  
Community worker

What I value from Pastoral Supervision

I really value that someone has heard and understood me at this very deep place - this place of listening that most people are not able to do. Blind spots have been revealed to me and once they have been, I have become aware, then have been able to continue discerning or simply recognise it and let it go. So the whole experience provides an ongoing personal enquiry of my interactions and how they overlap in my life.  
Community worker

One of the things I found particularly useful was that in supervision I had to clearly articulate for another person what was happening in my ministry.  Telling the stories helped to bring clarity to me as I explained the situations on which I was reflecting.  
Catholic priest

The safe ability to debrief and by talking, solve some of the ways forward to handling and solving some very confidential and taxing situations. It is like an excellent psychological aspirin! To unload my problems on to my wife is unfair on her as she has no one to unload to and keep the confidentially. 
Lay administrator

For me it is the chance to articulate details of events in my pastoral encounters whether successful or not or not yet happened and notice what I am doing, what I am trying to achieve and how I am going about it. I value the reflections and the proddings of the supervisor to assist me to see things in a broader context.  
Catholic priest

Examples of pastoral encounters/issues and how Pastoral Supervision helped

I was trying to understand how to approach a parishioner knowing it would be a difficult and sensitive interview. My supervisor asked me to talk about the person I was to interview – what was he like; what were his skills and what did I think mattered to him. This allowed me to be more aware of the giftedness of the person I needed to interview rather than just the topic I was concerned about. It challenged me to see this interview as an encounter with a person, with needs and fears like us all, and I noticed some of my own fears which were being triggered by this person. Knowing my own fears meant I could leave them aside in the interview and concentrate on being with this person with dignity and honesty.  
Catholic priest

Pastoral Supervision really helped me to recognise where 'boundaries' and 'needs' play out. This goes both ways between the client and myself. In a helping role it is easy to think that 'giving' is always helpful but in reviewing boundaries and needs it has helped me to realise that keeping these intact and at times saying no can be just as helpful. It can make us both stronger.  
Community worker

A personal reflection on Pastoral Supervision

There is
nothing in the
world that does not
speak to us.  Everything and
everybody reveals their own nature,
character, and secrets continuously.
The more we open up to our inner
senses, the more we can
understand the voice
of everything.

These words were the frontispiece of a book that my daughter gave my husband when she brought him back a Singing Bowl from her trip to Nepal and the Everest Base Camp.  Last week at a Spiritual Care Conference in Canberra a Singing Bowl was incorporated into the morning reflection.  I have had an attraction to Singing Bowls since I was introduced to them many years ago on a Buddhist retreat, around the same time as a friend was given one by her son.  So over the past week I have been reading the book and reflecting upon Singing Bowls and as I have done so I have been struck by how they speak to me of the experience of pastoral supervision.

Just as it is not possible to capture the essence of the sound of singing bowl, nor describe how the sound penetrates my being, it is not possible to fully capture in words the experience of supervision, nor fully express the richness of the encounter.  However, this reflection attempts to give some expression to the experience.

I bring to pastoral supervision my experiences of the past month, sometimes particular incidents, on other occasions recollections of my places of comfort or discomfort.  In this safe space I can reflect on my time as a Chaplain and hear my own words speak the wisdom of hindsight.  Sharing the experience with another who knows my circumstance and some of my story helps to deepen the reflection and enables patterns to be recognised and habits to be examined.  Pastoral supervision is a safety valve so that I have an avenue to address my concerns or to alert me areas of blindness.  The insights I gain from reflecting with another then enable me to go forth energised and with greater awareness for the coming month.

Work as a Prison Chaplain, without the companionship and supervision of colleagues can be a solitary experience.  Supervision can assist in ensuring that it is not a lonely or isolating experience.  Supervision is also affirming.  It enables me to take the time and celebrate the significant difference that my presence makes to the daily life of those who have been and continue to be excluded, abused, looked down upon and overlooked by society.  Supervision keeps me sensitive to the needs of the inmates and balances their needs with my own, ensuring that I respect respond with compassion while respecting professional boundaries.  Just as the singing bowl rings out a harmonious tone so too the time in supervision ensure that my ministry remains in a harmonious balance.

One day, while talking with a man in the pod he suddenly got angry with me, ranting and raving not only at me, but angry with the officers.  Walking away from this interchange I knew it was something to take to supervision.  I had already sensed that I could have handled the conversation differently and as I reflected in preparation for supervision I saw many ways that I could have responded in a more sensitive and life-giving manner.  Following discussion of the particulars with my supervisor I now know that in a similar situation I will respond with deeper insight and more compassion.

At times I am confronted with my own powerlessness.  I cannot change our society, the legal system, the correctional system or the mindset of the guys before me.  All I can do is listen and help them hear the cry of their own heart, to see the mess of their own circumstances, the articulate the questions tumbling in their mind.  I cannot offer solutions, remedies or a quick fix-it.  It is helpful to know that someone else stands alongside me in my sense of powerlessness in both comforting and encouraging, giving me the strength to continue to be present to the other no matter what.

Finally, sometimes my ministry takes me to very dark places, as horrific stories are spoken, years of pain disclosed and deep wounds revealed.  Knowing that there is someone with whom I can reach out to as I struggle with my own emotional response to this mess enables me to walk alongside the victims and/or perpetrators of violence in such a way that I myself am not overwhelmed by it.  At the end of each day I can sleep easily, waking refreshed to see a new day and respond with energy and compassion regardless of what it may bring.

I give thanks for the gift of pastoral supervision and know that I am healthier in my ministry because if it.  
Prison Chaplain