Counselling support

What is available?

While ministry can be immensely rewarding it also exposes those involved to the distress of other people’s lives, the tensions and conflicts which may arise in parish life, and the pressures of living 'on the job.' Having additional support available can make a huge difference, particularly in times of stress. The Counselling Service aims to provide an accessible, professional and flexible service. It is offered on a subsidised basis, with the assessment session being fully-funded by the Diocese.

Clergy, their partners/families, and Diocesan employees may, like anyone else, face relationship problems, bereavement, stress, anxiety, depression, illness or other challenging life events. The pressures of parish life or relationships within the parish/church/diocesan community can be the source of stress and finding confidential support can be hard for those in, or associated with, public ministry. Age and experience are not necessarily a protection from feelings of loneliness or isolation and those whose role is to care for others may find it particularly difficult to ask for help. Counselling is not just for a crisis, it may also be useful in talking through a dilemma or situation that is causing stress.

Who is eligible?

The Diocese of Coventry counselling provision is available for licensed clergy, their partners/families, and for DBF employees. This is in addition to the pastoral care already provided by our bishops, archdeacons, area deans, clergy cell groups, and by colleagues, partners and friends.

Counselling depends on building a relationship of trust within which it is safe to explore personal issues. This is recognised by the Diocesan senior staff team and so they are not told who the counsellor sees and no report is made of the counselling. Counselling is confidential, in accordance with the Ethical Framework of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).

Personal Counselling for DBF Employees

Counselling for DBF Employees may be offered if you have personal problems which are affecting your ability to carry out your role effectively and need advice or support. The problem may also be affecting your physical or mental health.

Counselling for any problem will be confidential and carried out by someone suitably qualified.

Please speak with your Line Manager or the Director of Operations (HR) if you feel you would benefit from counselling.  If you qualify for counselling, the Director of Operations will refer you to the Diocesan Adviser for Pastoral Care and Counselling, Heather Vernon.

The DBF will fund up to 10 sessions, you may choose to continue seeing your counsellor on private basis, this would be at your own cost and in your own time.

For more information please see this leaflet.

How do I access it?

Heather Vernon is the Diocesan Counsellor. Contact can be made directly with her by phone or email (contact details are below) and all communications are treated confidentially. Third-party referrals can be made but no information will be passed back to the referrer without the client’s written agreement. If in doubt, please feel free to contact Heather and talk through whether counselling is the most suitable approach.

Although Heather is the regular Diocesan Counsellor, it is recognised that she will not always be the best person to work with a client. In that case, alternative arrangements may be made to another therapist.

Whom do I contact for more information?

Heather Vernon can be contacted by phone, on 07960 879406, or by email, at