Kristen James

Student Blogger


Whether the counselor is a licensed clinical mental health counselor or not, I believe that pastoral counselors should receive professional training within the field of counseling. This will better prepare them to deal with the clinical issues that their clients may face in ways that training in ministry and theology alone will not; perhaps just as importantly, it will help them to recognize when a particular concern or issue is outside of their area of competence and should be referred. It would also be helpful if professionally trained counselors acting in this role made a point of familiarizing themselves with the most recent developments in counseling within their own faith tradition, and would be ideal if they worked to contribute to this (often small, but growing) field of research, as it is the responsibility of professional counselors to advocate for their clients, and people of faith are frequently in need of advocates and representation within the mental health profession.

Pastoral Counseling: On First Impressions and Web Presence

It’s an unfortunate fact that many Catholic parishes have truly horrible websites. The reasons for this are many, varied, and generally valid – budgets, time, staffing constraints, and so on. But the end result is that potential parishioners and visitors have a very difficult time getting the information they need, and may form some negative opinions about the parish based on this virtual first impression.


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.”