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 provides brief introduction to key issues in distance counseling, with particular emphasis on the implications of pastoral counseling practices for pastoral counselors. Distance counseling technologies include both asynchronous and synchronous formats. An increasing number of counseling professionals now offer distance counseling as one part of their traditional, face-to-face, counseling practices, and a smaller number of counselors practice primarily in a distance format. It is important to emphasize that distance counseling is not intended to replace entirely conventional modes of pastoral counseling; rather, it may serve as an essential adjunct to traditional methods. Like other forms of spiritual and mental health care, pastoral counseling is most often offered to clients as a face-to-face activity. Distance pastoral counseling may limit some forms of assessment and understanding of the client and his or her experience and concerns. As an emerging practice, distance counseling presents both opportunities and challenges for pastoral counselors.
This chapter discusses how pastoral counselors are different from other counseling professions. Pastoral counseling exists in a substantial community of related disciplines and professions. The two theoretical bodies of knowledge that combined to create pastoral counseling were the disciplines of psychology and theology. A review of pastoral counseling’s professional heritage sets the stage for the discipline’s contemporary identity dilemma. The formative nature of pastoral counseling training shapes the pastoral counselor’s self and is the rudiment from which the distinctive interventions of pastoral counselors organically emerge. Among the elements of training and formation most salient to shaping pastoral counseling interventions are clinical integration, pastoral formation, and the development of a spiritual orientation. The unique training and formation of pastoral counselors lays the groundwork for the development of interventions. Pastoral counselors share distinctive interventions that are born out of particular ways of being and a particular set of goals and objectives.
This chapter presents common research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, including how the researcher influences what is being measured, challenges and opportunities in measuring religion and spirituality, and cultural implications of the measurement of religion and spirituality. When reading reports of research on the impact of religion and spirituality on psychological constructs, pastoral counselors must consider what the researcher intended to capture, as this may be different from the pastoral counselor’s personal definitions of religion or spirituality. Pastoral counseling falls in the broad category of the social sciences. There are two general categories of social science research: quantitative research and qualitative research. Research in religion and spirituality must consider the cultures of those who devise the research and the cultures of those who participate. Pastoral counseling research is complex because it crosses multiple disciplines and encompasses concepts that are difficult to define and conceptualize: religion and spirituality.
This chapter explores the diversity of professionals engaged in pastoral counseling, the characteristics of those professionals within the ever-expanding landscape of mental health care, and the settings in which pastoral counseling most often occurs. It describes the plurality present within the discipline, summarizes the discipline’s use of the adjective pastoral, and offers a broad, fluid understanding of pastoral counseling. Pastoral counselors at the center of practice in the 1950s to 1970s may have claimed to speak in a singular tongue and envisioned a monolithic tower representing the theory and practice of the discipline. Pastoral counseling is an approach to mental health care that draws on the wisdom of psychology and the behavioral sciences alongside spirituality/religion/theology. Pastoral counselors are bicultural because they have graduate training in both religious/spiritual/theological education and a mental health discipline. Religiously endorsed pastoral counselors are, like all pastoral counselors, bilingual and bicultural.
The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling identifies pastoral counseling as a 20th-century phenomenon. E. Brooks Holifield (1983) highlighted how early American pastoral care reflected social and theological issues of the time. Pastoral counseling in liberal congregations began to shift away from cognitive, intellectual answers and toward helping parishioners surrender to a “wider self” that would lead to transformation. For pastoral counselors and theologians, psychoanalysis raised awareness that human emotional, spiritual, and volitional life was more complex and mysterious than supposed by earlier theological anthropologies. The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education standardized clinical pastoral education (CPE) as a professional education program for ministry with a focus on pastoral identity, interpersonal competence, and chaplaincy skills. Pastoral counseling specialization gained credibility partly through academic interest in seminaries and graduate schools. Although racial and multicultural tensions contributed to slow growth in the United States, pastoral counseling gained strength in Asia and Africa.
This chapter examines the relationships between pastoral counseling and spiritual direction with an eye to how the related disciplines can work together to provide holistic care for clients facing the complex problems of modern life. It explores the common ancestor of spiritual direction and psychotherapy in the care for the soul in Western philosophical and religious traditions, tracing their separation in the past century. The chapter considers ideas from an interfaith and contextual perspective and raises questions for the future of pastoral counseling based on cultural differences and emerging social trends. Positive psychology has provided helpful distinctions that are useful in describing how counseling, pastoral counseling, and spiritual direction are both similar and different. Many counselors both pastoral and clinical mental health are interested in promoting cognitive, psychosocial, and faith development, and these concepts also inform spiritual direction; both relationships would cover ideas such as images of God.
This chapter focuses on Buddhist approaches to the work of pastoral counseling and the role of the counselor. It explores the topics of Buddhism and pastoral counseling as separate entities, looks at how they can be joined, and presents unique elements of working with Buddhist and non-Buddhist clients. The chapter introduces the notion of the Buddhist pastoral counselor as the kalamitra, or spiritual friend. In Mahayana Buddhism, the teacher is often termed kalamitra, Sanskrit for spiritual friend. The kalamitra as counselor is one who has worked with his or her own mind and therefore knows the workings of the mind and how the mind creates suffering. Similar to all counseling, the Buddhist pastoral counselor will rely on the relationship with the client as the main process and intervention of counseling. Buddhism and mindfulness will continue to influence psychology, and therefore Buddhist pastoral counseling as a discipline will continue to grow.
- 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.
This chapter explores the interventions employed within pastoral counseling that resonate with other mental health professions. Although interventions differ by definition and discipline, the chapter intends to elucidate the common ground shared across professions that serve to promote mental well-being. The actual interventions employed by different allied health professions similarly share a common ground. Most of the interventions used by pastoral counselors stem from a psychotherapeutic perspective informed by psychological theories and the historical, collective experience of the mental health disciplines. Pastoral counselors and other allied professionals are equally likely to draw from the shared pool of therapeutic interventions. The allied professions find common ground in psychodynamic interventions given the historical roots and cultural breadth of that paradigm. The humanistic and existential paradigms of psychotherapeutic intervention serve as another common ground for pastoral counselors and the allied professions.