Chaplain Confidentiality
There might be times when you need to talk to someone about personal concerns or stresses, but you want the conversation to remain private.

By: Spirit - Spiritual Care - 11/15/2018

There might be times when you need to talk to someone about personal concerns or stresses, but you want the conversation to remain private. When you face such times, remember that a chaplain can be a great resource. Why? Chaplains don't keep records. They are bound to keep confidential anything you discuss together.

It is safe to share information with chaplains because they have "privileged communication" status. Conversations with chaplains about personal worries and religious needs are private conversations by law and practice. Chaplains hold what you tell them "in confidence." That means you can speak with a military chaplain or a chaplain's assistant about any personal matter of conscience or religious practice without fear that they will tell it to others. Legally, chaplains and chaplain assistants cannot share what you tell them without your specific permission.

There is only one conversation with a chaplain that is exempt from the privileged communication status. If you do a mandatory interview for conscientious objectors, you must meet with a chaplain for an interview. Before the interview, the chaplain is legally required to explain that the conversation is not privileged, and it will be disclosed. Outside of this one instance, the chaplain cannot and will not disclose your conversation or that you even spoke.

Commanders are to ensure that chaplains have the office space needed to guarantee confidentiality when talking to unit personnel. Each branch of service has its own policy. This means you not only have access to a chaplain, but you also have the right to the space to hold a private and privileged conversation with that chaplain. This privacy is unique to chaplains—behavioral health and other professionals are legally required to disclose certain concerns without your permission.

Chaplains are trained and ready to discuss a wide variety of topics and concerns, so you have access to a subject-matter expert and confidentiality in the same person. Financial problems causing stress in your marriage? Having trouble sleeping and facing ethical concerns? Are you single and finding few resources not oriented toward families? These are all concerns with which the chaplain and chaplain's office can help.

Are you the spouse who is fatigued from holding down the home, deployment after deployment? Are you a child who could use someone to talk to about having Mom or Dad gone a lot? The chaplain is there for family members as well. Families receive the same level of confidentiality as Service Members.

No matter the concern or the need, the chaplain will have your six.

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