Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, Vol 4, No 2 (2016)

Storytelling and Spiritual Care

Judith Gilbert
Issued Date: 15 Dec 2016


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.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 ) HTML (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/hscc.v4i2.29817


Allen, R., and A. Seaman (2010) Dementia and Godly Play. (accessed 22/06/16).

Berryman, J. W. (2002, 2006, 2008, 2011) The Complete Guide to Godly Play. Volume 3. Denver: Morehouse Educational Resources.

—(2002, 2006) The Complete Guide to Godly Play. Volume 1. Denver: Morehouse Educational Resources.

Farrell, J., S. B. Cope, J. H. Cooper and L. Mathias (2008) “Godly Play: An Intervention for Improving Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Responses of Chronically Ill Hospitalized Children”. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counselling 62(3): 261–71.

Howard, L. (2016) Discovery to Recovery: Godly Play for Alzheimer’s Patients. Available at: and (accessed 22 June 2016).

Killick, J. (2013) Dementia Positive. Edinburgh: Luath Press.

Mutual Blessings (2015) Godly Play in Elderly and Dementia Care Settings. Available at: (accessed 4 January 2016).

New Revised Standard Version (2007) Holy Bible. London: HarperCollins.

NHS Education for Scotland (2009) Spiritual Care Matters: An Introductory Resource for All NHS Scotland Staff. Edinburgh: NHS Education for Scotland.

Oxford Dictionaries (2016) Parable. Available at: (accessed 26 January 2016).

Valkonen, T. (2015) Deep Talk. Helsinki: Kirjapaja.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy