A short definition of Presence
Based on a longitudinal qualitative research into the practising of presence in outreach pastoral care, ‘presence’ became circumscribed as:
A practice in which the care giver involves her/himself with the other in an attentive and dedicated way, by doing so learns to see what is at stake for the other – from desires to fears – and, in connection with this, comes to understand what could be done in this particular situation and who she/he can be for the other. What can be done is done. This mode can only be accomplished with a sense of subtlety, craftsmanship, practical wisdom and loving fidelity.
Since the publication of ‘Een theorie van de presentie’ (2001), the theoretical elaboration and justification of the practice of presence have been received very positively, even far outside the realm of pastoral care. The vocabulary of presence has come to be appreciated by social workers, nurses, youth workers, workers in addiction care, general practitioners, et cetera. It helps them to articulate their own motivation and aims, as well as their possible frustration with the way they are being trained, assessed, and managed. The presence approach and theory also have become relevant to management and to thinking about quality of care.
For a further introduction into Presence, read the article ‘The Presence approach, an Introductory Sketch of a Practice’
In this video Andries Baart gives a short explanation of the core aspects of Presence.