Clarahan: Abandoned in China but with Hope for a Better Life

I was asked to give a testimony at this past summer’s Defending the Faith Conference on the way that Franciscan University has helped me grow in my faith and as a person. While preparing for this talk, I thought I’d like to share with you the same. Because this school certainly has changed my life!

Pastoral Counseling?

I don’t know about any of you readers, but I have never been to a pastoral counselor.  I have been in counseling and in spiritual direction, but never pastoral counseling. So when I entered a pastoral counseling class I didn’t really know what I was getting into. We have spent the first four weeks of class reading articles and discussing what pastoral counseling is and what it is not. And to be honest, it’s still confusing.

Pastoral Counseling: What is it and how does it compare to clinical counseling?

As a student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program, I have learned to do assessments, diagnose, create treatment plans, and use techniques and skills to help my clients attain their goals. Many of my classes involve thorough discussions about ethics, legal issues, and boundaries (document everything!).

Pastoral counseling – what’s that, again?

In some ways, “pastoral counseling” is a very precise phrase that is used to describe a very vague idea. Professionals in the counseling field have put forth a wide variety of ideas about what it is that distinguishes pastoral counseling from clinical mental health counseling or spiritual direction, the two fields that are most closely related to the general concept of “pastoral counseling.”

Pastoral Counseling as Caring for Persons – Body and Soul

Do you know what Pastoral Counseling is? Probably not. Before I started taking this class I wasn’t so sure about what Pastoral Counseling was and how it differed from spiritual direction and “normal” counseling. There is definitely some gray area between these three disciplines, but the following is how I personally internalize the differences.