As a Master’s student in the Counseling Program, I have still been trying to come to terms with the fact that this profession is the goal that I am aiming for. Like a few others in the program, I am still trying to find my path as a counselor to find what I will enjoy and what I may be successful in. Recently I read an article on the theoretic approach of Carl Rogers and it was more than comforting. The article discussed the core parts of being a counselor in Roger’s theory, which include genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard and how these aspects of a counselor are critical in the growth of a client in the counseling relationship. Of course I learned about these core parts even in my undergrad psychology classes but through my internship experience and my own personal discovery, I have found that these qualities come naturally to me, and wow, what a relief that is.
Among the other reading assignments, the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd continues to appear. As a member of Love of the Lamb household, I keep this image very close to my heart and it always sparks my interest, especially when I am doing academic reading. Within one of the readings, there is a list of qualities Christ has as the Good Shepherd. Christ guides, protects, and leads his flock to still waters. One of the qualities was that Christ was “scandalously inclusive”. This interested me because of the people we are called to love in the counseling relationship who we may not typically associate with in our daily lives. A lot of my internship experience has been through the Urban Mission and every week I’m pushed out of my comfort zone in order to reach out to members of this community. In the counseling relationship, we are called to include these people in the relationship we have with them when it may be uncomfortable in any other typical social situation. We are called to love them unconditionally despite their flaws and the mistakes they have made and help to guide them toward healing.
Through each of these I feel encouraged to embrace this call to love others in the unique way that has been placed before me and become more like the Good Shepherd; someone who loves without condition and accepts sinners into my life to help them grow and heal as Christ did. From the first few weeks of class, my impression of pastoral counseling has become clearer. Pastoral counseling is another way some of us are called to love others the way that Christ does. Pastoral Counseling is using the skills and knowledge that I have learned to serve people within a church community to help them with their spiritual needs while also taking into account their mental health.