SES Volunteer's Association of Western Australia Incorporated

“Together we can; Together we will”

DFES Chaplaincy

The Chaplain provides confidential pastoral care, spiritual guidance and support to WA emergency services personnel and their families in the event of traumatic or stressful incidents, or in relation to personal issues affecting them.

This may take place over the telephone, at the site of an incident, at a hospital, a person’s home or in the workplace.

The Chaplain operates within the DFES Wellness Branch and provides a specific role in the area of Pastoral Care and will be contributing to the core strategy of increasing personal resilience and holistic wellbeing of DFES volunteers and employees.

Dennis Sudla - Chaplain

Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care support by the Chaplain can be offered to individuals or groups, with a variety of inputs on offer, these include; Healing, Sustaining, Guiding, Reconciling and Nurturing.


Bereavement Support

Bereavement support, being the developing process on grief and loss is also on offer, which could include the secondary experience of grief and loss while attending a job which involves a loss of life.

The Chaplain can also provide emotional/spiritual support and facilitate a bereavement journey after the loss of either someone within the Unit  or after a critical incident that SES Volunteers have attended.


Contact Details

Support is available over the telephone, or in person, and is available to people of all faiths. For more information please visit the dedicated pages on the Volunteer Hub

Issues supported


  • Promoting self-care strategies and a holistic approach to wellness
  • Triaging and assessing an individual’s need
  • Referral to the appropriate DFES Wellness team member


  • Creating a ‘safe space’ for conversation and discussion
  • General knowledge of health and safety issues
  • Knowledge of Worker’s Compensation process


  • On personal well-being with a focus on addressing Ontological (nature of being) issues
  • Knowledge of EAP services
  • Welfare both on personal level and within the team dynamic

Faith and Spirituality

  • Ecumenical  Approach
  • Prayer
  • Faith formation (for individual/s who take interest in deepening faith experience)
  • Spiritual education- exploring different spirituality
  • Scripture (for individual/s who take an interest in learning more about the Scriptures)

Assistance, Advice and Support

Read more – Assistance, advice and support

The DFES Chaplain contributes to the core strategy of increasing personal resilience and holistic wellbeing of all emergency services personnel. 


  • Pastoral Care assessment
  • Spiritual assessment – Spiritual assessment should thus not impose a view, let alone a definition, of spirituality, but should seek to elicit the thoughts, memories and experiences that give coherence to a person’s life.
    This implies taking seriously the idea that spirituality preserves identity and sense of self, particularly in professionalised environments, and ensuring that professional practice assessments are made within a framework that matters to the individual
  • Facilitating referrals to the local community for specific Spiritual/Religious needs 


  • Provision of Pastoral Care counselling – Pastoral care consists of helping acts, done by representative persons, directed towards the healing, sustaining, guiding, reconciling and nurturing of persons whose troubles and concerns arise in the context of daily interactions and ultimate means and concerns.
  • Spiritual direction
  • Providing strategic pathways in order to address relationship issues
  • Discernment based approach to complex issues


  • Reflective practice – Reflective practice is, in its simplest form, thinking about or reflecting on what you do. It is closely linked to the concept of learning from experience, in that you think about what you did, and what happened and decide from that what you would do differently next time. Read more on this website >>> 
  • Pastoral Care support
  • Deep listening support  – Deep listening is a process of listening to learn. It requires the temporary suspension of judgment, and a willingness to receive new information – whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
  • Spiritual/Prayer support

Pastoral Care Model

Read more – Pastoral Care model

Pastoral Care assessment

  • Listening, to be able to determine specific need
  • Assessing needs
  • Triage 
  • Plan of Action

Pastoral Care support

  • Individual or group, and family support
  • Providing appropriate resources
  • Referral to internal services or EAP
  • Pastoral care counselling

Bereavement support

  • Developing Process on Grief and Loss
    This may include the secondary experience of Grief and Loss while attending a job which involves a loss of life.
  • Wellness Chaplain provides emotional/spiritual support and facilitates BGU bereavement journey as a result of losing either someone within the brigade or potential impact of a critical incident that the BGU has attended to. 

Ritual – liturgical – prayer – ministry

  • Referral to appropriate Minister of Religion 
  • Attendance and leading ceremonial services within DFES

Pastoral Care input

  • Healing
    A pastoral function of ‘internal healing’ that aims to overcome some impairment by restoring the person to wholeness and by leading them to advance beyond their previous condition. 
  • Sustaining
    Helping a hurting person to endure and to transcend a circumstance in which restoration to their former condition or recuperation from their malady is either impossible or so remote as to seem improbable
  • Guiding
    Assisting perplexed persons to make confident choices between alternative courses of thought and action, when such choices are viewed as affecting the present and the future state of human wholeness. 
  • Reconciling
    Seeking to re-establish broken relationships between man (sic) and fellow man and between man and God. Historically, reconciling has employed two modes – forgiveness and discipline. 
  • Nurturing
    Enable people to develop their potentialities, throughout the life journey with all its valleys, peaks, and plateaus. Nurturing and guiding are the pastoral care functions in which education and counselling are most intertwined