In our counseling classes, we learn that we are called to guide our clients on their journeys. We don’t give them advice, but we simply help them along the path to find their path. In the pastoral counseling profession, we are blessed to be able to talk about a great source of strength. We are allowed the privilege of incorporating faith into practice. This includes being able to openly pray with clients, exploring our clients’ faith experience, and guiding them to develop a deeper relationship with Christ through struggles and life experiences.
As pastoral counselors we have the opportunity to use scripture in our counseling techniques. This can be incorporated both in the counseling session and it can be given as homework for the client. Through my own spiritual life, turning to scripture has given me joy and hope in God’s Word. I admit I’m not completely dedicated to reading scripture on a daily basis, but I recognize the importance of doing so and it is an incredible practice to have. I have noticed that when I do read scripture on a daily basis, I feel more connected in my relationship to God and since I read scripture at the end of the day, I always end my day on a hopeful and reflective note. In session, the client and counselor can talk about the different ways certain bible verses can relate to the client’s life circumstances and how they can turn scripture into a habit, which can depend on each individual client.
We also have the opportunity to implement prayer into our counseling sessions. This can help the client to incorporate prayer into their lives, if they don’t pray on a normal basis to begin with. This can help the clients to center themselves on a daily basis and throughout their day, especially if they have issues with anxiety. Through prayer, our clients can work to grow closer to God and through this relationship they can begin to find their hope and strength in the Lord. Prayer can be used in opening up session, during the session if the client encounters something particularly stressful, and at the close of a session to regroup the session and leave on a peaceful note.
These two techniques are held close to my heart because of the effect they have had on my own life. As I stated previously, the use of scripture brings comfort and joy to me while through prayer, I learned to depend on God and rely on His will for my life; comfort and reliance when the journey gets tiresome and perhaps the we feel as if we are no longer able to carry on. The relationship we have and build with Christ truly builds a source of hope for our day-to-day lives and especially in times of hardship. Through Christ, we can see the light at the end of our journeys and the hardships we encounter mean something when we have the hope of being united to Christ in heaven.