Clergy Counselling Service

Supporting clergy and their families serving the Anglican churches of the diocese.

“It was having someone listening to what I was saying without judging me. Listening to my problems and helping me to see them in a different light, that made all the difference”. 

The diocese offers a free counselling service in which eight sessions of counselling are available for clergy and their immediate families including children. 

Our counsellors are fully qualified and accredited with government recognised bodies.

All counselling arrangements are fully confidential and anonymous, and those using the service can self-refer without any reference to senior clergy.

The counselling service provides a safe and confidential space to unpack any sort of emotional distress, whether it is from relationships inside or outside of the family or church, or issues related to your working ministry that just aren’t working at all well.

Maybe you have experienced some losses and bereavement, depression and anxiety, a sense of loss of vocation, or anything else that is getting you down and is draining your energy and good will.

You may have experienced some painful disappointments, regrets, losses, and bereavement.

Anxiety and depression can be unwelcome emotional visitors to our lives.

Losing a sense of vocation and motivation is difficult - and can be symptomatic of approaching burnout. 

All of these and other stressors can drain our energy and good-will.

Counsellors are trained to listen carefully and without any judgment and will help you to find a way through to restore your sense of wellbeing and resilience.

We can help with the following…

  • Depression, anxiety, stress
  • Low self-esteem/fragile self-worth
  • Self-harming and suicidal thoughts
  • Couples counselling
  • Difficult relationships in the home and/or church community
  • Bullying
  • Chronic illness. Accidents
  • Emotional traumas new or old
  • Bereavement, losses, change
  • Anger/resentment management
  • Social anxiety (feeling anxious in public and social situations)
  • Thoughts of giving up the ministry

We can also help children to talk about their school anxieties or bullying, and confusion about their sexual identity.

This not an exhaustive list; we can help with whatever it is you would like to talk about.

There are many other challenging issues that clergy and their families have talked about. 

If you think that your problem is too difficult to talk about, or seems too trivial, please don’t hold back.

Your counsellor is experienced and will help you.        

Counselling through this service is available for clergy, their marriage partners, and their children.

Over the years, many of the clergy and their family members in the diocese have used the clergy counselling service (which includes couples counselling), so please don’t feel that you must soldier on alone, or that you are the only one who cannot manage sometimes. Others have benefited enormously from the private and confidential support that counselling provides.   This service is here for you too so please get in touch. Your enquiry will be kept in strict confidence, and your anonymity assured from any other person, other than the counsellor to whom you could be referred.

If you think counselling might help you, or you would just like more information, please contact Sheila Pigott, Advisor for the Diocese of Derby Clergy Counselling Service - sheila.pigott@derby.anglican.org | 01433 639641

Your enquiry will be held in complete confidence.

You can talk to Sheila confidentially on the phone, send an email, or arrange a face-to-face appointment.



What happens in counselling

Who are the counsellors?

What happens in the first appointment?

Is there any cost?


How to get in touch



What happens in counselling?

Counselling takes place in a professional relationship. The meetings take place in a safe place, with an experienced and qualified counsellor. Your counsellor will listen to whatever you say with respect and without any judgment. The appointments take place in a private room which may be in the counsellor’s office or home.

With your counsellor’s support, you will develop insights and resources that will enable you to find a new and purposeful direction in your life and ministry. 

Whether you feel confused or clear about the cause of your difficulty, your counsellor will help you to make sense of what is happening and will support you to find your own unique way through.

In counselling, you work actively with your counsellor, and while she or he does not advise or direct you, you will be helped to resolve the challenges, and will feel supported in any positive changes that you might like to make.

Who are the counsellors?


Our counsellors are qualified, accredited and experienced. Their work is regularly supervised, and they belong to government registered organisations:

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).  

Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC).

The first appointment

Each of the eight counselling sessions are 50 to 60 minutes long. (90 minutes for couple’s sessions). They begin and end promptly to the times you arrange with your counsellor.  Expect to be listened to respectfully and carefully, and feel free to ask questions or ask for more information.

The cost?

Our counsellors are paid by the Diocese for your eight appointments. This is a free service for you and your immediate family members.

Confidentiality and anonymity are essential for the   safety, and privacy of your counselling relationship. Your visits to a counsellor and whatever you talk about remain strictly confidential between you and your counsellor.  Nothing is shared with anyone outside of the counselling arrangements within the diocese.
In rare circumstances where your health and safety, or that of others are at serious risk, or where there is a requirement in law, the terms of confidentiality can be changed by your counsellor for your own and others’ well-being. 

How to get in touch

If you think counselling might help you, or you would just like more information, please contact Sheila Pigott, Advisor for the Diocese of Derby Clergy Counselling Service.

Your enquiry will be held in complete confidence.

You can talk to Sheila confidentially on the phone, send an email, or arrange a face-to-face appointment.

01433 639641


Before retiring, Sheila had many years of training and experience in counselling and psychotherapy. She managed a private practice for over 35 years and worked in NHS Mental Health Teams for five years. Sheila also supported her husband through a long parish ministry before his retirement.



Below are some of the comments we have received from those who have received counselling through our service.  

“Busyness seems to have become an addiction! I can say this because that's where I was myself. The counselling I received was excellent. It was really helpful to have someone walk with me through what has been an incredibly difficult year. I feel much more equipped following the sessions.”

“My sessions were invaluable. Having a non- judgemental, impartial 'observer' meant I could receive feedback I could trust. It also very much helped me identify that the actual situation I faced was dysfunctional when I'd thought it was mainly my own incapacity to cope. I've already recommended this service to colleagues & will continue to do so. I can't see how it's possible for Clergy NOT to need this service at some point in their ministry!”

“We (a married couple) had greatly appreciated the sessions, would be happy to return to the counsellor if the need arose, and were amazed at just how far we had come, and how so many of the issues had been resolved/worked through during these past few months. I found her (the counsellor’s) encouragement and unpacking of complex issues extremely helpful. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be able to return to work next week without these sessions. She really helped me to understand how I had gotten to that stage, what I needed to do to get through my time away from work and some of the changes needed to enable me to get back to work with a different mentality. She has helped me to make a number of big decisions regarding how I approach my work/life balance and to understand how to manage external stresses beyond my control. I would wholeheartedly recommend the diocese’ counselling services, to anyone considering accessing it. I had already recommended it to others after my first set of sessions (2019). This latest round of sessions has only solidified my belief that therapeutic counselling can be transformative.”

Last modified on Thursday, 08 February 2024 15:06

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