Spiritual direction is a form of counseling that helps persons grow in their relationship with God. The spiritual director helps the directee to be more open and responsive to God’s Self-communication and Self-revelation.
Today, as I write this, we celebrate the Feast day of a very special Saint; one who was called by Jesus the “secretary of His mercy.” St Faustina Kowalska, by the prompting of our Lord, devoted her life to proclaiming the message of Jesus’ Divine Mercy.
I first attempted to answer two questions in this blog; however, this being a topic which necessitates not only detail but proper attention, I am only able to answer the first half of one question within the characters allotted.
Pastoral Counseling or Spiritual Direction? Essential answers to questions you may not have known you needed to ask.
In my first blog, I attempted to illuminate the purpose and defining aspects of Pastoral Counseling; however, if you were left with the question, “I want to grow deeper in relationship with God but how do I know if I should seek out Pastoral Counseling or Spiritual Direction? Which one is right for me?” you are not alone.
Pastoral Counseling is a discipline confronted with the task of defining itself since it is, in some ways, still in search of an identity. In this write up I will take a look at pastoral counseling with regard to its meaning, history, identity and purpose.
The word Pastoral from the Latin word pastor, pastorem refers to the shepherd role of the elder(s) within the Christian community, especially the Latin Church.
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What is pastoral counseling? This has been the question with which I have been wrestling for almost a month now. You know those times when we flip and twist and cramp our brain muscles over something? I have become an Olympic champion at mental gymnastics. I wish I could say I have had an epiphany of the “correct” answer to this question but I don’t think that is the correct perspective.
The basic question of this blog is “what is pastoral counseling.” If you break apart the title of pastoral counseling, you have pastoral and you have counseling. Now take a second and think about what comes to mind when you read those two words. Got it? Good.
Upon my conversion to Catholicism, and after some general soul searching about the path that God had set before me, I found myself at Franciscan University pursuing a degree in Mental Health Counseling. I also came into the program with the full intention of getting the Christian Counseling Certificate.
Throughout the beginning of this semester, we have attempted to define the title of our class “Pastoral Counseling.” This has proved to be a worthwhile endeavor but a difficult one at that. Ultimately, we discovered that pastoral counseling is not an easily identifiable term, and many writers and practitioners have differing opinions about its goals and structure, its strengths and limitations, and the uniqueness of a career which encompasses both ministry and counseling.
In today’s world, it seems every person can agree on one common goal, freedom; freedom from distress, freedom from illness, freedom from oppression, freedom from anything that keeps a person from being fully alive. The field of psychotherapy holds this “freedom from” at its core; it is not those individuals that feel satisfied with their sense of freedom that come into therapy, no, it is those among us that feel their freedom is being oppressed by their current conditions and circumstances in life.