A Brief Introduction to
Provided by the
Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee
pas to ral coun sel ing 1.The provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties by a professional trained both in theology and the behavioral sciences.
NOT strictly speaking for pastors. NOT simply Christian counseling.
Spirituality is important to many people.
Those who seek help during significant life changes, conflicts with family, experiences of psychological trauma or mood disorders, or who face a variety of other problems may find that itâ€™s most beneficial to meet with a mental health professional who is more attuned to their spiritual side than a therapist who has little to no training in theology and spiritually integrated counseling and who is more trained to assess their psychological state than a religious or spiritual leaders. Furthermore, â€œbecause of the missional nature of pastoral counseling, most counselors make every effort to ensure services are available to those who seek them. While most centers and counselors charge a standard fee for counseling services, adjustments can often be made according to financial need. Others provide a sliding scale.â€? AAPC
Counseling vs. Psychotherapy
“Therapy is generally used in response to a variety of specific or non-specific manifestations of clinically diagnosable and/or existential crises. Treatment of everyday problems [and significant life transitions] is more often referred to as counseling (a distinction originally adopted by Carl Rogers). However, the term counseling is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘psychotherapy’.”
In the case of Pastoral Counseling, the word counseling is used interchangeably with psychotherapy as Pastoral Counselors are trained in the behavioral sciences and treat clinically diagnosable and existential crises.
“Psychotherapy is derived from psychoanalysis and dynamic psychology. Therapy addresses the emotional problems of clients by the exploration of conscious and unconscious memories and feelings of the client through dialogue between client and therapist. Success is defined by the client’s increased knowledge of buried conflicts that are faced in therapy and worked out in their lives. A religious component is not usually found in standard therapy. “
Erwin C. Hargrove “The Spiritual Dimensions of Pastoral Counseling” / August 2011
“Religious communities have traditionally sought to provide spiritually-based solutions for those in trouble. Clergy have listened intently to personal problems for centuries, and have cultivated a spiritual counseling response to those who suffer from mental and emotional illness. Traditional spiritual counseling continues to help many of these people. It was recognized long ago, however, that in many cases specialized professional care was necessary for effective treatment.” - AAPC
“Spiritual direction has its purpose helping clients find God in their lives. Spiritual directors are often ministers or priests, with a counseling background as well. But their purposes are most attentive to openness to God’s spirit. “ - Erwin C. Hargrove
“ Pastoral Counseling usually begins with psychotherapy but may gradually move to an enriched dialogue between client and therapist about ‘existential’ themes in life such as alienation, the absence of meaning and purpose, and death. Such questions reach beyond secular therapy. Pastoral counselors most often have both ministerial and psychological training. The client may receive the benefits of secular therapy as well as an opening to spirituality.” AAPC
Reverend Anton Boisen, father of the Clinical Pastoral Education movement, placed theological students in supervised contact with patients in mental hospitals. His innovative educational program brought disciplined training to the historical connection between faith and mental health.
The integration of religion and psychology for psychotherapeutic purposes began in the 1930â€™s with the collaboration of Norman Vincent Peale, a renowned minister, and Smiley Blanton, M.D., a psychiatrist, to form the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, now the Blanton-Peale Institute.
In this awareness of the spiritual dimension in human wholeness, Pastoral Counselors stand in good company.
The American Association of Pastoral Counselors was founded in 1963 as an organization which certifies Pastoral Counselors, accredits pastoral counseling centers, and approves training programs. It is an interfaith organization representing in pastoral counseling work more than 80 faith groups including the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths. It is non-sectarian and respects the spiritual commitments and religious traditions of those who seek assistance without imposing counselor beliefs onto the client.â€?
Pastoral Counselors 1 bachelorâ€™s degree 1 three-year professional seminary degree 1 masters or doctoral degree in the mental health field 1,375 hours of supervised clinical experience 250 hours of direct, approved supervision Certification and licensure Adherence to a Code of Ethics