What are Reflective Practice Groups (RPGs)?
Groups of five or six clergy who are supported by a professional facilitator to develop skills which improve their emotional wellbeing and reduce stress.
Group membership tries to balance gender and avoid colleagues from the same deanery. Members agree to a statement of commitments concerning attendance, confidentiality and active participation.
Clergy tell us how much they benefit from RPGs – one diocese has over 40 clergy on its waiting list! As David, a team vicar and RPG member, told us: ‘RPGs make for safer, surer leaders and if dioceses put this into place, there will be much less firefighting.’ Read David’s story here.
Why a professional facilitator?
Working with a professional facilitator enables clergy to experience a good working model and, for once, to step outside the leadership role. Skills developed include:
- understanding and working with groups, a key part of parish work
- listening skills
- giving feedback
The groups are facilitated by experienced professionals, often trained counsellors or psychotherapists, from outside the structures of the diocese. The facilitators’ independent nature is key to the success of RPGs, giving clergy confidence in the confidentiality of their group.
How often do RPGs meet?
Monthly for two-and-a-half hours over a period of two years.
What funding does St Luke’s offer?
St Luke’s offers the expert help of Jan Korris to establish and run strong, beneficial reflective practice groups in a diocese. This will include meeting the relevant people, running a ‘taster’ session, interviewing potential facilitators and overseeing the first year. St Luke’s will contribute funding to cover the cost of the paid facilitator in the first year, provided that the diocese commits to fund and run the group for the second year. We find that the very positive feedback from the pilot group encourages dioceses to set up additional groups, embedding them more widely within the diocese.
What feedback does the diocese get from the group?
Each group is, by its nature, confidential and separate from the diocesan structure. Thus feedback from RPGs may be limited to personal feedback from individual participants at their ministerial review, as well as perceived growth in their relevant skills and character as observed by members of the diocesan senior management team.
Find out more about how and why RPGs work, here
To find out more about RPGs for your diocese:
Please contact Claire Walker at St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy:
Tel: 020 7898 1700
Claire will put you in touch with our Reflective Practice Group Advisor Jan Korris, who will give you more information about setting up and running RPGs in your diocese.
Jan Korris, a psychotherapist and St Luke’s Trustee, has been involved with clergy training and individual therapy for over 30 years and clergy group work for 20 years. She uses a reflective practice model to build emotional resilience and develop best practice. A BACP Senior Accredited supervisor of individuals and groups, Jan has worked extensively in care and managerial roles within the state and voluntary sector.