P.A.L.M. is the Pastor Approved Lay Ministry, a program for lay pastoral caregivers.

The purpose of P.A.L.M.  is to train and mentor lay persons to be caregivers in their local congregations. The program is a non-denominational resource to provide education and certification to individuals who are called and endorsed by their congregations to assist ordained leaders in their pastoral care giving. The training program does not espouse any particular creed or ecclesiastical orthodoxy. Rather it is grounded in the spiritual integrity of its participating congregations for the purpose of strengthening and resourcing the faith of the individual P.A.L.M. Caregivers©. Congregations of all denominations are pressed for pastoral resources due to financial strains. This program will provide competent, ethical and certified relief for these important parish needs. The appointed lay leaders will be trained by members of the Clinical Staff of the New England Pastoral Institute. These professionals are called to a specialized ministry in the mental health field. The ten-session training program is designed to certify members of local congregations who have been identified by their pastor and/or congregation as suited and called to a lay ministry of congregational care-giving. The ten-session curriculum will address a variety of topics essential to competent, ethical, and spiritually-based care-giving skills. Sessions are 90-minutes in length and all ten must be completed to qualify for certification.

  • Defining P.A.L.M. Caregiving
    • Defining “Pastoral Care”
    • Differentiating between “Counseling,” “Therapy,” and “Spiritual Direction”
    • Ministry of Presence
    • Alliance
    • Trust
    • Process vs. Results: “Journey, not a destination”
    • Relationship between spirituality and psychology
    • Stages of spiritual development
  • Ethics of P.A.L.M. Caregiving©
    • Establishing, communicating and maintaining appropriate boundaries
    • Limits and possibilities of “Information Technology”
  • Risk Management in P.A.L.M. Pastoral Caregiving©
    • Documentation
    • Storage
    • Understanding and relating to authority
    • Accountability and reporting to a congregation’s ordained leadership
    • Consent forms
    • Self care
  • Learning, Developing and Practicing Listening Skills
    • Active listening
    • The power of silence
    • Making interventions
    • Handling “Oops!” moments
  • Grief and Loss
    • Death
    • Separation and divorce
    • Loss of employment
    • Loss of home
    • Miscarriage, stillbirth, failed adoption
    • Health issues
  • Mental Health Issues
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Eating Disorders
    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Substance Abuse/Dependence and Addiction
    • Suicidal Ideation, Gesture, Completion
  • Crisis Theory
    • Trauma Syndrome
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Secondary Trauma
    • Risk Assessments
    • Intervention techniques
  • Crisis Intervention
    • Criminal Victimization
    • Abuse: Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Financial
    • Maintaining referral resources
  • Ethics of Electronic Communication and Electronic Social Networking
    • Types of cyber-communications
    • Aspects of Confidentiality
    • Risk management
  • Visitation Protocols
    • First visit goals and expectations
    • Hospital protocol
    • Nursing home protocols
    • Home visit protocols
    • Office visit protocols
    • Risk assessments

Following the ten sessions of training, each certified P.A.L.M. Caregiver© will have access to continuing education through mentoring and supervision groups.

To qualify for enrollment applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be called and endorsed by the local congregation and its ordained leadership
  2. Grant permission for a formal background check
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. Submit a completed registration form

Tuition for the P.A.L.M. Caregiver© program is $20.00 per person per training session and includes each of the ten training sessions, all printed materials and handouts that constitute the Training Manual, and the P.A.L.M. Caregiver© pin awarded at the conclusion of the ten sessions. Tuition does not include the cost of the background check ($15.00) and the personal assessment materials ($15.00) utilized in the self-care training module. Trainees from churches participating in the Congregational Affiliate Program of the New England Pastoral Institute receive a 10% (ten percent) discount on all above-mentioned fees and tuition.

Additional information about the Congregation Affiliate program is available by contacting Dr. John Mokkosion, Executive Director (ext. 100).

Registrations forms, background check releases, tuition and fees may be sent to Dr. Dayl Hufford, Clinical Director, NEPI, 15 Ermer Road, Suite 215, Salem, NH 03079