Catherine Anderson

Student Blogger


I am completing a masters in clinical mental health counseling here at Franciscan. I love how Christian counseling takes a holistic, integrative approach that considers the whole person. I grew up in England where I was fortunate to also train in psychodynamic counseling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents. I’m a romantic idealist, animal lover and my hobbies include painting, dancing, languages and hosting dinner parties.

Pastoral Counseling in Practice

According to Benner, strategic pastoral counseling should be time-limited, holistic, structured, involve assigned homework between sessions, is church based, spiritually focused and explicitly Christian. Some of these aspects overlap with clinical strategies; for example in achieving brief time-limited counseling a pastoral counselor may draw upon the practical skills and clinical techniques of basic listening, being directive, viewing the therapeutic relationship as a partnership and focusing on one specific issue or “goal”.


The Nature of Pastoral Counseling

Although there are many different definitions of what pastoral counseling is, I notice several common themes which writers have drawn upon. The term “integration” appears a lot in reference to guiding a client towards physical, mental and spiritual well-being. For Christian clients whose faith is important to them, knowing that pastoral counselors share their faith helps develop trust, rapport and accountability.