Introduction to Pastoral Counseling is designed to equip individuals in a variety of ministry and church settings to offer effective, short-term counseling and basic care from an integrative, pastoral perspective. Themes will include: theoretical approaches to pastoral counseling, the development of a personalized approach to pastoral counseling, the role of a pastoral counselor, pastoral counseling ethics, multicultural competence in pastoral counseling, and self-care.
This course is designed with the assumption that students are active participants in the learning process. Students are expected not only to participate in discussions, but also to take an active part in designing their own learning experience through the selection of topics to focus on in a range of assignments related to the learning objectives. This course is designed to value critical thinking, courteous dialogue, theological reflection, openness of expression, empathy toward others, and honest interaction.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand and articulate a biblical and theological basis for pastoral counseling.
- Explain several theoretical approaches to counseling that are compatible with a pastoral counseling model and describe their application in concrete counseling situations.
- Identify and utilize key communication skills needed in the context of Christian care and pastoral counseling.
- Create a personal philosophy of pastoral care and counseling that integrates theological, theoretical and personal elements into a concrete approach suitable for a specific ministerial context.
- Understand and observe basic ethical principles applicable to the practice of pastoral counseling.
- Explain the role culture plays in the counseling process and develop greater inter-cultural sensitivity needed for the practice of pastoral counseling.
- Articulate principles of and formulate a personalized plan for self-care.
- Identify and assess basic types of psychological problems encountered in the local church and determine proper steps for pastoral care and referral.
- Explain the primary issues and pastoral care approaches needed for ministry to common presenting issues in congregational life such as depression, anxiety, anger management, abuse, marital problems and concerns regarding illness and death.
- Benner, David G., Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model (2nd Ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2003.
- Clinebell, Howard, Basic Types of Pastoral Care & Counseling, (3rd Ed.). Nashville: Abingdon, 2011.
- Johnson, W. Brad. & Johnson, William L. The Minister’s Guide to Psychological Disorders and Treatments. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Pastoral Press, 2014.
- McIntosh, Gary L. and Rima, Samuel D. Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failure. Baker Books Revised, 2007.
- Wicks, Robert J. Availability: The Challenge and Gift of Being Present. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2015.