Storytelling and Spiritual Care


  • Judith Gilbert Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, St Mary’s Hospital



compassion, godly play, playfulness, reflection, spiritual care


This article reports on the use of Berryman’s Godly Play (2002, 2006) with adult patients in a mental health inpatient hospital and also staff groups. Godly Play is being used as a tool in spiritual care, to enable adults to freely express their spirituality. The emphasis is about encouraging individuals to engage with a story by the use of imagination and freedom of thought. The report includes reflection, not only on using stories from the biblical narratives on which Godly Play is based but also on those from unknown sources. These stories are selected to address themes of personal concern raised by patients. The report indicates where the interest for this tool first began and how it relates to the daily work and “being” of a chaplain. It refers to the relatively small amount of evaluation or research conducted with adults so far and where the work may be developed in the future.

Author Biography

  • Judith Gilbert, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, St Mary’s Hospital

    Judith Gilbert is a Methodist working as a chaplain with the Spiritual Wellbeing Department, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the College of Health Care Chaplains.


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How to Cite

Gilbert, J. (2016). Storytelling and Spiritual Care. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 4(2), 192-206.