About Pastoral Support

Our Pastoral Support team offer a range of support and services to Church of Scotland ministers.

Services include the development and resourcing of local pastoral networks, direct one-to-one engagement and the provision of occupational health support, counselling, coaching, mediation and conflict resolution services. Advice on wellbeing and planning for retirement is also available.

Support for those in ministry takes many forms and each has its own particular focus

Counselling focuses on difficulties a person may be experiencing within themselves or in their interpersonal relationships.

Spiritual accompaniment focuses on a person’s spiritual wellbeing and their relationship with God.

Coaching equips a person to make choices for their future.

Pastoral supervision focuses on a person’s work or ministry and enables them to give the very best of themselves to those they serve.


Spiritual Accompaniment

Spiritual Accompaniment is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction)

Spiritual Accompaniment is about a relationship

The religious experience is not isolated, nor does it consist of extraordinary events. It is what happens in an ongoing relationship between the person and God. Most often this is a relationship that is experienced in prayer.

Spiritual Accompaniment is a relationship that is going somewhere

God is leading the person to deeper faith and more generous service. The spiritual director asks not just “what is happening?” but “what is moving forward?”.

The real spiritual director is God

God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director helps a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship.

How can I access Spiritual Accompaniment?

Please contact the Pastoral Support team using the contact form at the bottom of this page or alternatively call 0131 225 5722 (ext 2419) for further details.

Counselling & Therapy

Counselling offers you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It allows you to share with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you work towards improving your wellbeing. The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They won’t usually give advice, but will help you find your own insights into and understanding of your problems. There are many different counselling methods and approaches. It is important to note than in general, research shows that the relationship with your therapist or counsellor is more important than the method they use.

Cognitive and Behavioural therapies

Behavioural therapies are based on the way you think (cognitive) and/or the way you behave. In this type of therapy, the goal is to reinforce desirable behaviours and eliminate unwanted ones.

Psychoanalytical and Psychodynamic therapies

Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies focus on early relationships and experiences and how these impact on your present life.

Humanistic therapies

Humanistic therapies focus on self-development, growth and responsibilities. This type of therapy regards human nature positively and assumes every person is capable of solving their own problems using their intrinsic wisdom.

How can I access Counselling?

Please contact the Pastoral Support team using the contact form at the bottom of this page or alternatively call 0131 225 5722 (ext 2419) for further details.


There are two big distinctions which set coaching apart from other professional relationships such as therapy or counselling: The focus is firmly on the here and now; and the premise is that the client is the expert in their own context. The coaching conversation starts with the assertion that the client is ‘creative, resourceful and whole’ and as such holds the answers to any questions they might care to pose. The journey of coaching is a partnership of discovery. What the coach and client discover along the way is determined by openness, trust, key questions and honest answers. Coaching aims to help you find balance and fulfilment in your ministry, work and life.

Is Coaching for me?

Coaching is for anyone, however there may be times when it is less helpful than other interventions. In general it’s not a tool you would reach for if you are in deep crisis, a more therapeutic solution might be appropriate in that case. If you have a reasonable idea of what you would like to achieve and are willing to engage in some frank and honest discussions around your work then coaching is absolutely for you!

How much time does coaching take?

The time commitment is usually around an hour a fortnight for sessions, and then may involve some light homework in between. It would be important for there to be a degree of capacity in your schedule – a coaching relationship should be a transformative one, and if you have no capacity to introduce change then the impact is curtailed.

How can I access Coaching?

Please contact the Pastoral Support team using the contact form at the bottom of this page or alternatively call 0131 225 5722 (ext 2419) for further details.


Unum Lifeworks is a confidential assistance programme offering a toolkit of personal and professional resources that can help make life better. Whether you have a simple question or a complex concern, the service is here to help you and your family with practical information and advice covering a range of topics affecting health, family, money matters and work.

Easy Access

This easy to access and confidential service is available at no cost to you and your immediate family members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

User ID: unum
Password: lifeworks

Personal Support

Speak to professional counsellors on a range of matters affecting your emotional well-being including stress, anxiety, bereavement and relationships.

Personal Legal Support

Unum offers access to practical help and information on a range of legal issues, including:

  • Family Law
  • Property Law
  • Financial Law
  • Wills and Probate
  • Debt Advice

Contact the Pastoral Team

Should you wish to get in touch our Pastoral Support team in total confidence, please do so via the contact form below or alternatively, call them on 0131 225 5722 (ext 2419)

Your Details

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