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.
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- Go to chapter: The Challenges of Being Bilingual: Methods of Integrating Psychological and Religious Studies
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.
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.
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.
This chapter focuses on the workings of “Torah therapy” by drawing on what Cheston describes as the three points of focus essential to all counselors: the counselor’s way of understanding clients, the counselor’s way of being with clients, and the counselor’s way of intervening in the therapeutic process. It concludes by comparing and contrasting Torah therapy and pastoral counseling as it is traditionally understood. The wisdom of Judaism, as contained in the reservoir of divine teachings known as the Torah, is intended to guide the Jew’s outlook in all areas in life, including one’s vocation. Torah-based therapist makes a concerted effort to help clients to reconstruct past hurts in a positive light. Torah therapy overlaps with pastoral counseling in large measure but not perfectly, for whereas the government places educational and licensing demands on the pastoral counselor, one may reach the status of Torah therapist less formally and officially.
In many ways, Joretta L. Marshall’s journey in pastoral counseling represents what is often referred to as a more traditional model of formation. Her work as a pastoral assistant, college chaplain, associate pastor, and staff person in a youth crisis center shaped her pastoral identity in church and community. Formed by a doctoral program that was clearly grounded in pastoral theology while working alongside pastoral clinicians who brought sophistication to their theological and clinical integration, Marshall began to see the identity of a pastoral counselor emerging among the multiple identities. Many of pastoral counselors related to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) assume, at their own peril, that there is one traditional model out of which all other pastoral counseling movements arise. Lifelong learning activities emphasized the pressing need for pastoral counselors to increase their clinical competency and effectiveness.
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.
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: 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 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.