What is Pastoral Counseling?
Pastoral Counseling is a ministry of mental health that blends spirituality, theology, and faith with methods of contemporary and traditional counseling and offers a holistic approach to the "care of the soul.”
Pastoral counselors are specifically trained as therapists with a foundation of spirituality. Counselors are both lay people and ordained clergy who have advanced clinical training in psychology. For most individuals, pastoral counseling consists of confidential weekly visits for the purpose of working through problems that may prevent enjoyment of a full and satisfying life.
What is distinctive about pastoral counseling as a form of psychotherapy?
Most pastoral counselors believe there is a God or divine power in whose image we are created. They believe that we yearn for a transforming connection with the divine and that psychotherapy can mediate the loving and healing nature of being itself. Pastoral counselors often pay special attention to the religious history of the client and the client's family, noting how it may contribute either to the pathology or to the resources needed for coping. (May 1997 edition of The Harvard Mental Health Letter.)
Pastoral Counseling focuses on the process of empowering people to grow into the uniqueness in which they are created, by intentionally “tending to the soul” at a deeper level. Tending and caring for the “soul” is a therapeutic process of discovery and the integration of mind, body & spirit. To care for one’s soul is to tend to the diversity and complexity of daily life. “Soul is not a thing, but a quality or a DIMENSION of experiencing life and ourselves” -Thomas Moore.
Pastoral counseling is a ministry of mental health that blends faith and theology with methods of contemporary and traditional counseling and offers a holistic approach to the "care of the soul.”