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.
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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.
- Go to chapter: The Challenges of Being Bilingual: Methods of Integrating Psychological and Religious Studies
This chapter describes how pastoral counselors draw on religious and theological studies along with psychological studies. Pastoral counselors can be described as bilingual and bicultural. The near history of American pastoral counseling in the 20th century generated several distinct ways of relating psychological studies with religious and theological studies. Pastoral counseling by religious leaders has been going on for centuries. Psychologically informed pastoral counseling and chaplaincy became specialized vocations as religious leaders pursued education and training in psychological counseling. Clinical pastoral education (CPE) within psychiatric hospitals was recognized as a form of clinically based theological education and was required by some seminaries and denominations as preparation for ministry. Pastoral counselors using a theistic worldview will likely retain a more conformist religious identity, especially religiously endorsed pastoral counselors who feel responsible for explicitly representing the cornerstone beliefs of their religious tradition.
This chapter addresses the importance of understanding the dignity of human nature. The human condition is a complex theological, philosophical, and psychological term that refers to the nature of our human experience. Significant pastoral concerns arise directly from the givens of human existence, as well as the contexts in which those experiences occur. The organization and method of discourse cover six key contexts for understanding the human condition:human dignity and depravity, story, relational style, family, gender, and view of God. The essential unity of the human family with God is part of the dignity inherent to the human condition and is often described by the mystics. One’s view of God has direct implications on one’s understanding of the human condition and thus one’s counseling practice. One cannot truly understand the human condition without first examining how humanity views the divine.
- 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 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.
This chapter provides an overview of traditional Native American spiritualities and life ways as systems of faith, then discusses the role and influence of Christianity, and, finally, offers implications for pastoral counseling with Native people from a culturally based perspective. In terms of faith and belief, Christianity has had the greatest influence on Native Americans. Essentially, cultural competence is critical in pastoral counseling with ethnic and spiritually marginalized groups such as Native Americans due to historical struggles, mistreatment, and a resulting potential for mistrust. Pastoral counselors must avoid making assumptions about the cultural identity of Native American clients without gathering information about both the individual’s internal and external experiences. Both verbal and nonverbal cues offer pastoral counselors a sense of a Native American client’s level of acculturation. Pastoral counselors might get involved with working on large social issues that will then indirectly affect the experience of Native American clients.
- Go to chapter: Religious Location and Counseling: Engaging Diversity and Difference in Views of Religion
This chapter explores the religious differences between counselors and their clients. It explores religious location, including one aspect of religious location that can pose what is arguably the only insurmountable barrier when the counselor and client occupy different religious locations. The chapter focuses on setting out the foundational concept of “language care”. It reflects forms and degrees of religious difference, challenges posed by religious differences in counseling, and the significance in counseling of the counselor’s religious location. Therapeutic relationality is of concern throughout the chapter, but a brief concluding section examines a few practices especially valuable for nurturing therapeutic relationality given differences in clients’ and counselors’ religious locations. The diversity of religious locations is demanding and perhaps daunting. Standards of professional competence and codes of ethics across the mental health professions include at least a mention of religion. The religious location of the counselor matters in the clinical process.
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.