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Webinar Materials

DECEMBER 2017 Webinar

Developing & Competent Chaplains
Presented by Tom O’Connor, PhD


Program Summary
How do you know if you are becoming a more competent chaplain with each passing year? In a year from now, will your skills, your humanity and your relationship with the divine be the same, or more complex? Research has found that most people in the helping professions stop growing in their skills after about two years of work in the field. A small group of professionals, however, keep on growing, and they achieve much higher rates of success with the people they serve. This webinar will show you how to be one of those professionals who keep growing.

Tom O’Connor, Ph.D., has trained thousands of chaplains in the US, Canada, Ireland, England, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, and he has learnt that training is not enough to ensure growth. Adding the right kind of support, objective assessment, feedback and coaching about what we say and do in our actual ministry is necessary to develop our natural strengths and grow in our skills.

Tom will talk about a new process of selecting, supporting, training, assessing, giving feedback and coaching chaplains to competency as an active listener, coach, change agent and learner. After six months in this process, your skills, humanity and relationship with the divine will be more developed and more complex. At the heart of this approach is a small online practice community of fellow chaplains, and a skilled coach who can help you avoid stagnation and burnout, gain support, and ensure measurable growth in your skills, wellbeing, and competencies.

Program Objectives
  1. To increase the participants’ appreciation for the fascinating research on human development and professional competency.
  2. To become more thoughtful, open and intentional about the participants’ development and competencies as a chaplain.
  3. To increase participants’ motivation to take steps to grow as a chaplain.
  4. To determine the next step participants need to take to develop their natural strengths and competencies

About the Presenter
Tom O’Connor, Ph.D., grew up in Ireland and qualified as a solicitor (attorney) in the Irish legal system. Then Tom joined a contemplative Catholic religious order called the Carmelites and lived as a friar (a wandering monk) for 9 years working and studying in Ireland, Scotland, France and the US. The Carmelites sent Tom to Washington DC in 1987, and two years later he took a job at a research institute in Loyola University of Maryland evaluating the impact of a federal prison program on recidivism. Ever since, Tom has concentrated on issues of human development, change and effectiveness in the criminal justice system.

Tom has degrees in law, philosophy, theology and counselling; his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America focused on Religion and Culture in the US Penal System. Tom has been nationally certified in the US as a chaplain and a counsellor, and trains many evidence-based practices such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Coaching and the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory. Tom also incorporates Implementation Science, Dialogue Coaching and the Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization®: process into his work with personal and organizational development.

Tom lives in Salem, Oregon with Aislinn Adams, his wife, and Sorcha, his 15-year-old daughter. Most recently Tom worked as a research manager for two years and as the head chaplain for eight years with the Oregon Department of Corrections. Tom has published, trained, and coached widely, across the US and internationally, on leading change, organizational development, the contribution of chaplaincy and volunteers, the role of humanistic, spiritual and religious ways of making meaning in the desistance process, and collaborative ways of developing staff and successfully implementing evidence-based practices throughout the criminal justice system.

Tom teaches in the Criminal Justice Division at Western Oregon University, and is the CEO of Transforming Corrections whose mission is to advance a more effective, less costly and more compassionate criminal justice system.


Developing and Competent Chaplains NACC Webinar Final
Developing and Competent Chaplains - 3 slides per page

CEH certificate

CEH certificate (2009-2017 webinars) (PDF)

Webinar recordings

December 14 recording