How the Military Context Shapes Spiritual Care Interventions by Military Chaplains

Theo Pleizier, Carmen Schuhmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Spiritual care interventions depend upon the context in which care is provided, its institutional setting and the actors involved. In order to understand the relationship between interventions in spiritual care and the context in which care is provided, we study the spiritual interventions of military chaplains against the background of the armed forces. In our study, we demonstrate that the military context needs its own conceptualization to understand the pastoral practices of military chaplains. This article uses a qualitative comparative methodology and is based upon 13 case studies that have been generated over the course of five years by a team of eight military chaplains within the framework of the Dutch Case Study Project. The analysis results in four concepts that describe the relationship between spiritual care practices and the context of the armed forces in more detail: structuring pastoral availability, positioning within the military environment, existential negotiation of being human and being a soldier and transforming military time. We conclude that the study of spiritual care in context leads to a contextualized understanding of spiritual care practices and stimulates comparison of pastoral care practices across contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-14
Number of pages11
JournalThe journal of pastoral care & counseling : JPCC
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022


  • Spiritual care
  • military chaplaincy
  • qualitative research
  • case studies
  • armed forces
  • interventions

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