In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains that each individual has been given particular talents and graces which combine to create a unique gift which they can offer the world. However as I reflect on this passage, I believe that this list also outlines the necessary skills and talents of pastoral counselors. As pastoral counselors, we are called to prophecy, minister, psycho-educate, and encourage our clients as we attempt to bring them to healing and growth.
In the previous blog, I described how CBT could be used in pastoral counseling. Today, I am presenting a model that can be utilized by the layperson and the licensed professional. The content of this blog is taken from my personal favorite pastoral counseling reference, Howard Clinbell. Clinbell’s work, Basic Types of Pastoral Care & Counseling, has been updated and revised by Sister Bridget Clare McKeever for its third edition; I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn and develop as a pastoral counselor.
This past week I’ve spent time pondering the link between Pastoral Counseling and Catholic Social Teaching. The foundation of every principal of Catholic Social Teaching rests upon the belief that every single human being has inherent dignity. “Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us (USCCB).”
Pastoral counseling, as a unique branch of counseling, incorporates the faith of the client in all aspects of treatment. This being the case, pastoral counseling in practice looks significantly different than the iconic Freudian analysis of the client on the couch staring at the ceiling freely associating the contents of their thoughts.
Certain counseling interventions might be more unique to pastoral counseling than they might more standard counseling. In most regards, I’m a huge advocate for things like Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and also Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.
Our discourse on pastoral counseling continues with focus on implementation of pastoral counseling and what to expect from a pastoral counselor. People go to therapy for mental, emotional or behavioral problems; Catholics are advised to seek pastoral counseling for same problems whenever such interferes with their practice of the faith.
After having theoretically outlined my understanding of Pastoral Counseling, I would like to take a more practical approach to the topic, listing the resources and techniques unique to this profession. The mental health field it’s self has many practical techniques which the Pastoral counselor should also find quite useful such as CBT, thought stopping, relaxation techniques, assertiveness training, etc.
Much of the emphasis of my last two blogs has been purely theoretical in terms of understanding the foundation from which a Pastoral Counselor operates. And while Pastoral Counseling encompasses endless amounts of theoretical ideas and stretches across the various disciplines, what the process looks like in practical terms is just as important to note.
Hello blog readers of the world,
Welcome back to round two of virtual lessons in pastoral counseling. I’ll be your host, M Mullan. A few weeks ago we talked about what pastoral counseling is theoretically. Now we have the mission, if we should choose to accept it, to draw a more practical picture of what pastoral counseling might look like in practice.
In today’s blog I will be investigating 3 questions that pertain to the client’s goal, the nature of their presenting problem and the all important question, “Why now?” I will be forgoing the investigation on the methods and approaches for now and will expand after these three have been appropriately illustrated.