Pastoral Counseling is a unique form of psychotherapy that has the option of using spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. Pastoral Counselors are certified mental health professionals who have in-depth religious and/or theological training and thus can address psychological and spiritual issues. They have chosen counseling as a vocation in ministry. Pastoral counselors are professional counselors and charge a fee for their services. They are highly educated and experienced. Most pastoral counselors believe they are not paid for counseling, rather, they are paid to keep counseling.
Pastoral Counselors are not medical doctors and may not prescribe medications. In situations where a pastoral counselor believes medication can be helpful, a person will be referred to a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who specializes in treating mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. In most cases, therapy will continue with the Pastoral Counselor, and the psychiatrist will supervise the person's medication.
Pastoral Counselors talk to people of any and all faiths, as well as to people who do not claim a faith stance. They are ready and able to discuss religions and spiritual issues, but the Pastoral Counselor will never "push" religion with a person. Pastoral counselors work with clients to explore their questions about faith and spititual issues, and refer clients to their past or spiritual leader to respond to questions that are specific to the client's faith tradidion.
Mostly, we help you talk about the current situation in a new way. Providing a new perspective on the situation is the first step in change. We also help to increase the level of communication so that the thoughts and feelings which have previously been unspoken are brought out into the open. Sometimes we explore the differences in the families of origin and the results of our upbringing. We also assist you in learning new ways of dealing with relationships and life situations. In this sense, counseling is like a classroom learning situation. You acquire new knowledge about yourself, about relationships and about how to manage your life more effectively.