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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This chapter describes the practice of supervision used across the spectrum of clinical mental health counseling to train pastoral counselors. It advocates the need for pastoral counseling supervisory training and certification at the state licensure level. The chapter highlights practices that can be used to address spiritual and religious issues within the supervisory process. It addresses the practice of clinical supervision in both academic and agency settings with pastoral counselors in training. Clinical supervision is the mechanism that helps to manage the continuous process of both personal and professional formation. Generally, supervision is categorized as a clinical practice that occurs between individuals in a professional setting. Supervisor training and certification is one way to ensure that pastoral counselors in training and all counselors in training receive supervision that attunes the client’s spirituality/religion into biopsychosocial assessment and treatment. Academic supervisors must also address ethical and legal issues while supervising.