This chapter focuses on the common themes of meaning and the sacred that emerge in pastoral counseling practice. It elucidates explicit and implicit spiritual content that is commonly presented by clients. The chapter explores the explicit spiritual content commonly raised by clients within the Abrahamic traditions. It also explores implicit spiritual content, which is seemingly inherent to the human condition and often occupies the subtext of a client’s presentation. Grounding the exploration of explicit and implicit spiritual content in pastoral counseling is the belief that competent practice requires counselors to be spiritually and theologically flexible. Pastoral counselors employ a diversity of treatment modalities and are not limited to one model or school of psychotherapy. Responding to explicit and implicit spiritual content within mental health practice is a hallmark of pastoral counseling. Whether spiritual content is explicit or implicit, one primary goal of pastoral counseling is to facilitate spiritual growth.
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- Go to chapter: Perspectives from Beyond the Field: Psychology and Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy
An indicator of the growth of research in the field of psychology and spirituality can be seen by examining the increase in the number of citations found over the past several decades in the PsycINFO database, which is the premier resource of the American Psychological Association (APA) that provides abstracts of peer-reviewed literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health. In addition to the field of psychology, data on the relevance of religion and spirituality is being generated by disciplines in the humanities and the physical and other social sciences to which spiritually oriented psychologists and other mental health therapists need to pay attention. One area that blends the psychological and the spiritual and offers an opportunity for collaboration between psychology and pastoral counseling is that of mindfulness-based therapies. The challenges for the world’s religions and spiritual traditions are the challenges for psychology and its allied professions, including pastoral counseling.
- Go to chapter: Integrative Psychotherapy Training Program: A Department of Spiritual Care and Education
This chapter examines the development and organization of pastoral care within the context of managed care. It illustrates an approach that has been effective at engaging a medical system while providing quality care to patients. The chapter provides a potential plan on how to further establish a training program in the context of educational systems and licensing boards. Pastoral psychotherapists have historically been well educated and trained in diverse counseling and psychotherapy clinical theories and methodologies. The term pastoral in pastoral psychotherapy typically connotes a specificity of education, training, supervision, and experience. The Integrative Psychotherapy Training Program (IPTP) offers a useful model for how pastoral counseling and psychotherapy is self-differentiating while extending its influence into the complexities of a very large health care delivery system. When developing an integrative psychotherapy service center and training program, the program must discern the service needs of the health care system.