School of Pastoral Ministry
Introducing the Pastoral Counselling
The tongue that brings healing is a three of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.- Proverbs 15:4
For students who want to practice as counsellors within a church or church related setting, our pastoral counselling track will allow graduates to perform effectively to meet the unique needs of the church and its members.
Pastoral counselling is a branch of counselling in which psychologically trained ministers, rabbis, priests and other persons provide therapy services. Pastoral counsellors often integrate modern psychological thought and method with traditional religious training in an effort to address psychospiritual issues in addition to the traditional spectrum of counselling services.
The church is becoming increasingly aware of the need to respond to numerous mental health challenges. These challenges include issues such as addictions, divorce, single parent families, economic difficulties and more. These issues are often a struggle for the leaders of a church to manage, as they feel ill equipped to address the mental health components of these challenges. A pastoral trained counsellor is a great solution to helping the church equip itself to respond to these issues.
Graduates of this specialty area will have an extra emphasis on faith and counselling integration and on unique issues that present themselves within the church.
“What distinguishes pastoral counselling from other forms of counselling and psychotherapy is the role and accountability of the counsellor and his or her understanding and expression of the pastoral relationship. Pastoral counsellors are representatives of the central images of life and its meaning affirmed by their religious communities. Thus pastoral counselling offers a relationship to that understanding of life and faith. Pastoral counselling uses both psychological and theological resources to deepen its understanding of the pastoral relationship.” Membership in several organizations that combine theology and mental health has grown in recent years. Some pastoral counsellors have developed special training programs to encourage cooperation between religious professionals and medical professionals on treatment of issues like addiction, since spirituality is an important part of recovery for many people.
Pastoral counselling had its beginnings a separate discipline in North America in the first half of the twentieth century, as various religious organizations began to incorporate the insights and training of psychiatry, psychology and social work into the training of clergy. In 1925, Dr. Richard Cabot, a physician and adjunct at Harvard Divinity School, published an article in the Survey Graphic suggesting that every candidate for the ministry receive clinical training for pastoral work similar to the clinical training offered to medical students. In the 1930s, the Rev. Anton Boisen began a program of placing theological students in supervised contact with mental patients. In time, many seminaries and other training programs for religious professionals began to include clinical pastoral education as part of clerical training. Also in the 1930s, the minister Norman Vincent Peale and the psychiatrist Dr. Smiley Blanton collaborated to form the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, now known as the Blanton-Peale Institute. Today, hundreds of mental health centers with links to specific religious traditions may be found across North America. In 1963, the American Association of Pastoral Counsellors was founded to provide professional certification for pastoral counsellors and pastoral counselling centers