There are several clinical practice that attempts to integrate both psychological and theological concepts into its framework, Pastoral counseling is one such type. It is not very different from other modes of therapy when it comes to the therapeutic process. It is different from other therapeutic processes in regards to the way faith, spirituality, and theology are incorporated into the therapeutic model. Pastoral counselors believe this incorporation of spiritual exploration and support is capable of creating a wholeness, healing, and growth in those who are seeking help.
What to expect?
Pastoral counseling can provide specialized treatment to those seeking such and also meet more general counseling needs, therefore it can be understood a versatile mode of therapy. Pastoral counselors are discretely positioned to offer their clients with a professional level of mental health treatment, because of their graduate training and education, while also providing spiritual guidance from a faith-based perspective.
How does it work?
According to a the Gallup poll of 1992, 66% of survey participants reported a preference for a mental health professional who held spiritual beliefs and values, whereas 81% of people seeking mental health treatment stated a preference for a counselor with values that were similar to their own. This data might offer an explanation why some people seek help from religious leaders or counselors who share similar faith with them. Pastoral counseling might be of benefit to people of all backgrounds, but it may be best suited to those seeking mental health support or guidance grounded in a theological or spiritual perspective.
People might choose pastoral counseling specially when they:
- Are not enough comfortable in a formal counseling setting
- Might want to make an approach to mental health issues from a faith-based perspective
- Might be concerned that secular counselors will not validate their religious beliefs
- Are facing end-of-life issues
- Have had negative experiences with other mental health professionals
When is it used?
Pastoral counseling was found effective to support those seeking family, relationship, premarital, or individual counseling. More particularly, it may be helpful to individuals working through or challenged by any Spiritual assessment, Grief and loss, Conflicts around spiritual beliefs, Issues related to chronic or terminal illness, Crises of faith, Mental health issues directly linked to religious beliefs or doctrine , Reintegration into community life after institutionalization or incarceration and Adjusting to mental health support when wary of the system.
Role of therapist
Beyond providing psychotherapy, pastoral counselors also makes use of resources such as prayer, scripture study, and participation in the congregation community to provide assistance and guide people on their journey toward transcendence, transformation, and greater connection to others and their spiritual self. This have been found of immense benefit for people who have had heavy mental setbacks.
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