What is pastoral counseling? Pastoral Counseling is a specialized form of counseling and psychotherapy that is sensitive to the spiritual and psychological needs of clients for healing and human development. Many professionals who provide this service are certified as pastoral counselors but not all. They have a background in counseling and psychotherapy as well as in spirituality and theology.
When should I seek help from a pastoral counselor? Similar to the criteria for those seeking help from a licensed psychologist or licensed professional counselor, potential clients are those experiencing challenges in function or comfort in their lives. Developmental issues, mood disorders, marital issues, and bereavement are all appropriate presenting issues.
Do pastoral counselors have specialties? Yes, some pastoral counselors specialize in marriage and family issues, others may focus on bereavement and so forth.
Pastoral counseling and spiritual direction: Pastoral counseling is not the same as spiritual direction although they can overlap. Pastoral counseling has a presenting issues and perhaps even a diagnosis. Spiritual direction focuses on the prayer life and spirituality of the person and his or her relationship with and concept of God.