This chapter provides the pastoral counselor with a “working hypothesis” about Hinduism and the culture of South Asian Hindus, it is no substitute for the recognition of the uniqueness of each individual who seeks counseling. Hindu subgroup is a growing population in the United States, and those in pastoral counseling and other helping professions will benefit from understanding the Hindu worldview. Hinduism is a philosophical approach to life and its problems, in which the “concepts of community, interdependence, divinity” and interconnections are implicit. Both cultural and religious concerns affect Hindu clients, teasing apart distinct cultural and religious interactions may be challenging. Although it is unlikely that a Hindu client will seek out a pastoral counselor to specifically address religious or spiritual issues, pastoral counselors are likely to encounter clients who identify as Hindu in a variety of settings such as hospitals and community agencies.
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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.
- 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.
This chapter presents a type of culturally open pastoral counseling that requires a transformation of self and society beyond an educated mind and a politically sensitive vocabulary. It discusses the current state of multicultural competence and social justice discourses. The chapter offers a few guiding principles intended to foster a more culturally open approach to cross-cultural training for pastoral counselors and other helping professionals. Training cultural competence in pastoral counseling and related fields focuses on meeting the ethical guidelines established by professional organizations. Training and discussions of social justice in pastoral counseling and related fields are aimed at drawing attention to the injustices inflicted on marginalized populations and motivating privileged populations to address and eradicate the resulting disparities. The primary focus of cross-cultural training for pastoral counselors is awareness, knowledge, and self-reflection. Developing cultural competence requires heightened awareness of personal cognitive dissonance when confronted with conflicting beliefs.
- Go to chapter: To Diagnose or Not to Diagnose: Pastoral Counseling Distinctives in Conceptualizing and Engaging Human Distress
To Diagnose or Not to Diagnose: Pastoral Counseling Distinctives in Conceptualizing and Engaging Human Distress
This chapter proposes a way of understanding pastoral diagnosis as a process of discernment that seeks to bring into dialogue alternative ways of knowing, while at the same time being grounded in a larger interplay between knowing and unknowing, which brings a unique experience to the engagement with human distress. The idea of pastoral diagnosis that developed in the 20th century had its roots in the worldwide pattern of religious interpretive systems in general and more particularly in the centuries-old practice of pastoral care from the Judeo- Christian tradition. Implicit in pastoral diagnosis is not only a way of conceptualizing human distress but also a way of engaging human distress with a particular focus on experience. The pastoral experience implied in the process of pastoral diagnosis with its inclusion of various ways of knowing engages the primary, raw, affective aspects of “core-consciousness” that often underlie human distress.
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 distinct advances occurred over the past 2 decades that are worthy of greater engagement by the pastoral counseling community. In the past decade, childhood studies have even earned a place in the study of religion, becoming a new program unit in the American Academy of Religion (AAR). When the new program unit of Childhood Studies and Religion sought AAR renewal in 2005-2006, one of the concerns raised by the program committee was the unit’s proximity to what the committee described as normative, Christian, and practical interests. Children have been misperceived as a low-status subject of little theoretical interest except to those in professional or practical areas such as religious education or pastoral care. As childhood studies in religion suggests more generally, fostering respect for religion in all its complexity is an equally important dimension of understanding children.
- 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.
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 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.