For years, those studying pastoral care and learning about Spiritual AIM asked for a comprehensive written description of the model with specific details to guide their assessments, interventions, and outcomes. Since the publication of the “Spiritual AIM and the work of the chaplain: A model for assessing spiritual needs and outcomes in relationship” (M. Shields, A. Kestenbaum, L. Dunn), dozens of CPE learners and professional chaplains have sought out more guidance and practice in using the model.
While we are thrilled at the enthusiasm and interest, as with any endeavor involving humans, interpretation and evolution is inevitable. This manual and training were developed to standardize how spiritual care providers use Spiritual AIM, as well as to maintain fidelity in the way that the model is taught. The manual has been revised, piloted, and tested over eight years, with more than 120 individuals around the United States.
Users have included chaplain interns in their first unit of CPE as well as chaplains in their 40th year of professional spiritual care practice. The pilot is detailed in this manuscript, and it is noteworthy to share that participating in the Spiritual AIM Training as outlined in this manual results in users making consistent and reliable spiritual assessments, according to the model. At a recent virtual Professional Development Intensive hosted by the Association of Professional Chaplains, participants were correctly assessing spiritual needs over 90% of the time, after engaging in this training.