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Therapist seeks wisdom in the Bible

So what is Pastoral Counseling?

Like Christian counseling, as described above, pastoral counselors work to integrate the realities of the faith with traditional counseling methods. Pastoral counselors are governed by whatever church body they belong to, and may be ordained as pastors as well as counselors. Some pastoral counselors are required to be licensed therapists in their states, but others are not, depending on the church's requirements. Many pastors will provide limited counseling sessions before referring out to a professional psychotherapist. 

As a young adult, I saw the gap that is sometimes experienced between the ministry and the local counseling practice. I personally believe that Christians are best served by Christian counselors, whether those counselors practice from an openly Christian standpoint or not. The spiritual life is life itself, and counselors who refuse to acknowledge that are missing something. That being said, I trained in several different settings, including schools and community mental health, where I saw clients from all backgrounds and walks of life. Becoming licensed in California required me to go through rigorous legal and ethical education, requiring me to be neutral on aspects of human diversity, such as religion. Therefore, I am able to practice in both ways: as a Christian who counsels, and as a Christian counselor. The treatment plan will include input from the client, such as what amount of spirituality they would like to have included in their counseling. Not a Christian? Not a spiritual person at all? That's ok! I can work with that! In church since the day you were born? I can work with that, too. I like to say that I can offer Christian counseling, but I don't have to, if that's not appropriate for the client.

Where does Soul Grit fit in on this spectrum?

There are plenty of Christians that have become therapists. After all, Jesus came to heal the sick and offer hope, so it makes sense that His followers would want to be in a field of work that creates healing, understanding, and hope, where there once was none. Many therapists who are Christians do excellent work, although it may be in different ways. For example, some therapists have been trained to work with evidenced-based treatment modalities that have scientific backing for their efficacy. They use these treatments without reference to their personal beliefs or the beliefs of the client. It's a "separation of church and state" so to speak, just like teachers who are Christians refrain from talking about their faith in the classroom. I believe there is benefit in practicing this way, because clients from all backgrounds can improve with help from a caring, trained professional who may or may not be praying for them outside of session. 

 

There are other therapists who work from a more forth-coming perspective with regards to their faith. They are comfortable referring to the wisdom of Scripture, recommending spiritual practices, and even praying for or with their clients. This type of therapist may also use the evidenced-based treatment modalities that the other type of therapist uses, in fact, they should use whatever methods are most likely to help the client. This is what we can refer to as "Christian counseling," because it takes the benefits of both Christian practice and clinical psychotherapy into account when planning treatment for individuals, couples, and families. 

Christians who counsel versus Christian counseling

What is Christian Counseling?