This book offers suggestions regarding how pastoral counselors can navigate the changing landscape of mental health care in our current context to maintain unity amid our diversity. Pastoral counseling continues to evolve from its origins as a specialized ministry to an approach to mental health care offered in a wide array of contexts, including both religious and secular settings. The book first offers an introduction to the discipline of pastoral counseling by outlining a brief history of pastoral counseling as well as an understanding of how the discipline maintains unity amid the vast diversity of practices and practitioners. Then, it details pastoral counseling theory and practice according to three precepts: a way of being, a way of understanding, and a way of intervening. Next, the book reflects the religious diversity present among pastoral counselors and those they serve. It further illustrates special issues in pastoral counseling. These special issues further exemplify the distinctiveness of pastoral counseling as evidenced by the functions of referral, consultation, and collaboration, the education and supervision of pastoral counselors, and the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. In recognition of our increased technological abilities, as well as the dearth of mental health resources available in some geographic regions, the book guides the reader in understanding distance counseling and how to engage in an ethical distance counseling practice. Finally, the book builds on the theory and practice of pastoral counseling by offering a prophetic call for the future of the discipline.
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- Go to chapter: Reframing Pastoral Counseling: Toward Developing a Model of Pastoral Care within Muslim Communities
This chapter provides some thoughts on exploring the possibility of developing a model of pastoral counseling in Muslim communities. As a concept, pastoral counseling does not translate entirely or accurately in the Muslim community. Religious leaders in most Muslim communities are well-meaning, well-intentioned individuals who want to provide help to members of the faith, but often they have no background or expertise to do so. The notion of pastoral care as it exists in the Muslim context bears little semblance to the way that it is understood in its broader professional context. Muslims are required to live in their own historical time and seek contemporary solutions to practical problems of human existence drawn from the knowledge base of society in their own time. Viewing Muslims through the exclusive lens of their religion can become very problematic when attempting to provide care in the context of mental health and mental well-being.