What is Pastoral Counseling?
Pastoral Counselors are clergy and others who have received graduate training in both religion and behavioral science for a clinical practice that integrates psychological and theological disciplines. Most pastoral counselors believe there is a God or divine power in whose image we are created. They believe that we yearn for a transforming connection with the divine and that psychotherapy can mediate the loving and healing nature of being itself.
Pastoral counselors may also make therapeutic use of traditional religious resources such as prayer, Scripture reading, and participation in the worship and community life of a congregation. They often pay special attention to the religious history of the client and the client's family, noting how it may contribute either to the pathology or the resources needed for coping. One psychiatrist has called pastoral counseling 'clinical theology'-- search for a revelation of love, forgiveness, and good news to people who have been in bondage to their feelings and the past.