Spiritual Accompaniment with your peer:
Once every four weeks give a session of spiritual accompaniment, and receive a session of spiritual accompaniment, with your peer companion. It is better that these are not back to back if possible, and should last for 50- 60 minutes, with a strong commitment to observing the time agreement. By the end of the first year you should have completed seven sessions in each mode – 14 calls in total.
These are formal spiritual accompaniment sessions, not conversations, and you are urged to start the relationship with clear contracting, and with as open a heart as possible, setting aside your ideas about who your peer is.
- Start with a prayer, silence, devotional practice or meditation.
- Give particular attention to your own and your peer’s relationship with the Divine.
- Engage in agreeing the practicalities of timing and the medium of communication in order to practice contracting with clients in the future.
- Take time to establish an agreement around confidentiality, using the OneSpirit confidentiality statement (see below).
- Focus on a deepening understanding of each other, maybe using your first year Creation assignment and your Lifeline, if you still have it, as a way to build a doorway into who you are.
- Include your impressions of any aspects of the second year opening residential.
- Focus on connecting and gently deepening connection with each other. Seek to clear yourself of assumptions about each other, based on the year passed: open to a new beginning.
Write-up notes of half a page to a page, both from the perspective of receiving and giving the sessions. These notes are private to you, and will help you get you into practice of keeping these kinds of records for an assignment in your second year. They are also the start of developing the habit of both writing up any work with a ‘client’, and including your own self-observation within that.
NB: Whilst these notes are confidential to you, it is essential to understand that clients have the right to ask to read your notes about them, which occasionally happens.
Contracting and confidentiality in the peer accompaniment context
Contracting is an important element of any accompaniment relationship, and is essential for establishing boundaries and safety. It also helps to ensure expectations are understood and mutually shared.
We will be covering this in more depth as the year progresses, but for now notice how your group tutor contracts with you in your sessions with them, and how this feels for you.
Take time to practice this element with your peer companion. Ensure your contract is clear and shared, and practice the skills of intention setting, pre-work to prepare yourself, and inner opening.
You must also specifically address confidentiality when contracting.
When writing up your notes, remember that clients have the right to ask to read your notes about them, which very occasionally happens. Remember that the confidentiality of your work with your peer, and the notes you make about these sessions, is an important aspect of the skills you will be learning and practising.
When writing up your case studies do not mention the client’s name. Only the issues, not the individual, will be discussed at supervision.
(While tutors will know the identity of your peer, it is still good practice to maintain this approach as if they do not. If tutors or supervisors are concerned about the “student client” as a result of reading or hearing case notes they will ask the student counsellor to ask the client for permission to pass on their name. If tutors or supervisors feel this code has been, or has to be, broken for any reason they will inform both student counsellors and student clients).
Please use the confidentiality statement below and discuss it with your client before spiritual accompaniment takes place.
OneSpirit’s Confidentiality Statement
We understand that sometimes information is regarded as sensitive and private, and we want to respect that. Please be aware that sometimes we may need to share information internally, with colleagues, in order to ensure we provide you and others the necessary support. We will explain why and how such information is to be shared in such cases, and who with, so that you have the opportunity to withhold permission.
We may also need to breach confidentiality in extreme circumstances such as:
A serious risk to your own health and welfare.
If your behaviour presents a serious risk to the legal rights of others.
When staff have been placed in a position that compromises their professional integrity
When disclosure is required by law.
If any of the above circumstances were to arise, we would seek to discuss the situation with you before breaching confidentiality, although this may not be possible in certain circumstances where safeguarding has to take priority.
Trust helps to create and protect a sacred space, a sense of being held safely. OneSpirit recognises the need for an approach to confidentiality that encourages individual openness while establishing best practice in how and when personal information is held and shared.
Confidentiality within the Training Context
Our tutors and operations staff need to share relevant information about students and course participants in order to provide the best possible care and support. This can take the form of notes on our secure password protected databases, discussion in meetings or internal forums and secure messaging platforms, including email. Any conversation or written communication may be shared unless specifically requested by an individual student not to do so. A request for confidentiality will be respected unless there are legal or contractual reasons not to do so, or safeguarding concerns that must take precedence. If confidentiality cannot be maintained the individual will be informed as soon as possible.
Confidentiality Between Minister and Client
OneSpirit ministers will not discuss privileged conversations outside OneSpirit’s legitimate forums of support, for example in supervision, and then by focusing on the issues and only identifying the individuals concerned when absolutely necessary.
In contracting with clients, OneSpirit ministers will explain the limits of confidentiality and what their clients can expect.
All students are taught OneSpirit’s Confidentiality statement and are encouraged to adapt this for their own use following ordination.
Confidentiality and the Law
Three aspects of UK law impact on this document; Data Protection Act, Terrorism Act, and the Children Act 2014. There are legal requirements with regard to disclosure, mainly related to terrorism, child abuse and data protection.