Below is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions. These questions can help you answer some of your basic questions.
What is clinical pastoral counseling? Click Here
What kind of training does a clinical pastoral counselor have? Click Here
What services do they provide? Click Here
How does clinical pastoral counseling work? Click Here
When should I seek pastoral counseling? Click Here
Will a clinical pastoral counselor counsel a person from a different faith belief? Click Here
When should a pastor refer a congregant to a clinical pastoral counselor? Click Here
How do clinical pastoral counselors work with other health care professionals? Click Here
What is clinical pastoral counseling?
Clinical Pastoral counseling is a form of counseling that integrates spirituality into the
healing process of psychotherapy. Because we are made up of body, soul and spirit,
it is important to include spiritual care in the healing process in order to achieve true
and lasting change.
What kind of training does a clinical pastoral counselor have?
Clinical pastoral counselors differ from other mental health professionals because
they are trained in both psychology and theology (or religious studies). Many of them
are ordained ministers, with a masters or doctorate in divinity.
In The state of Maryland, clinical pastoral counselors must meet the same
requirements as a licensed psychotherapist. They must have a masters degree in
behavioral science, be certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors and
licensed by the Maryland State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapist. They
must also complete a three year internship. A clinical pastoral counselor is registered
as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).
What services do they provide?
Since clinical pastoral counselors are trained in both psychology and theology, they
are able to provide psychological as well as spiritual guidance for those who are
searching for a peace of mind.
Clinical pastoral counselors provide a variety of services including treatment for
persons with mental disorders, counseling for adults, children and families; substance
abuse treatment, wellness programs, community outreach, empowerment
workshops and retreats, clinical supervision, leadership training, consultations for
churches and corporations. Ordained clinical pastoral counselors also conduct
religious services and ordinances.
How does clinical pastoral counseling work?
Clinical pastoral counselors use their psychological training to diagnose their clients’
issues, but they rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout the session.
Although clinical pastoral counselors use clinical insight to help clients, they also pray
because they understand that GOD is our healer and by His grace we are set free.
By incorporating spiritual care together with human behavioral science, pastoral
counseling creates a safe, non-judgmental and caring environment where clients can
express their emotional, social and spiritual concerns and achieve their highest
potential of well being.
When should I seek pastoral counseling?
You should consider meeting with a clinical pastoral counselor if you are experiencing
emotional difficulties and wish to include your faith and spirituality in the healing
process. A clinical pastoral counselor will help you integrate your beliefs into how you resolve your current problem.
Will a clinical pastoral counselor counsel a person from a different faith belief?
Pastoral counselors are found in every major Protestant denomination, as well as
the Roman Catholic church and Jewish faith, and they do work with people of faiths
different from their own. In initial meetings, the subject of faith should be raised to
assure that the client and the pastoral counselor are comfortable to work together.
When should a pastor refer a congregant to a clinical pastoral counselor?
Counseling and support are considered an integral part of any pastor’s ministry.
However, there are times when the needs of a congregant requires clinical counseling and/or psychotherapy.
Although many pastors are trained in crisis counseling, some may not have the
necessary skills to deal with more complex, long-term psychological problems. In
these cases, the pastor may find that his/her time is being consumed by one or two
individuals, which is not healthy for the congregation as a whole. When a pastor
suspects that the problem may require clinical diagnosis and/or long term care, the
pastor should refer the congregant to a clinical pastoral counselor.
How do clinical pastoral counselors work with other health care professionals?
Pastoral counselors may refer clients to other health care professionals, such as a
psychiatrist, for evaluation and medication. In turn, health care professionals may
refer clients, who prefer to receive therapy that integrates psychology with
theology, to pastoral counselors. In many cases, pastoral counselors work as a team
with other health care providers. For example, research demonstrates that most
people who suffer from clinical depression respond best to a treatment regime
combining psychotherapy and medication. In these cases, a pastoral counselor will
work with a psychiatrist to assure that medications are being monitored and discuss
the client’s progress and needs.