A spiritual response to stress

Dec 24 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

An interesting idea bandied about by a Welsh clergyman is certain to gain heated responses both for and against – it's probably for that reason that it wasn't published in the press until the Xmas weekend!

Apparently, the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Wales is recommending the use of chaplains in the workplace to help alleviate stress.

When I read this, I thought, wow, there'd be quite a number of people back home who like this idea. While it's true that people who are accustomed to counseling people through their problems might seem like a good idea on the surface, there seem to many problems in my mind that I wonder if it wouldn't cause more problems in the workplace.

First and foremost, I'm willing to wager that most clergymen and women aren't psycho-analysts or any other health (mental or otherwise) professional with extensive training in dealing with the human psyche. Secondly, would we want or expect the chaplains to keep their religious views out of the conversation altogether? Would people of other faiths feel comfortable in speaking with someone who they might feel automatically judges them?

Finally, would those of us without faith feel comfortable talking about someone whose entire career is based on ideas we wholly reject?

The Rev. Ifan Roberts, the aforementioned General Secretary, is right in stating that additional help in the workplace might alleviate some of the stress build-ups. However, us birds of another color might just be more stressed in accepting his help.

For that reason, it might be better to use this idea as a starting point and see where we can take it. In its current status, it looks like a solution set to potentially exacerbate another big problem.