What is pastoral counseling?

Pastoral counseling is a branch of counseling in which clergy and mental health professionals integrate their training in theology, behavioral sciences, faith tradition knowledge, spirituality, and systems theory to address and bring support for the challenging experiences of life, such as loss of a loved-one, difficult health diagnosis, care of an elderly parent, loss of life’s meaning and/or purpose. These situations can threaten to exhaust a person’s emotional and spiritual resources. It is at times like these that people consider asking for help. Though there are a number of different mental health options, some turn to a pastoral counselor who will offer integrative support for the person’s spirituality and/or faith and emotional wellbeing. Pastoral counseling is available for all people – those with deep faith, those seeking, and those who are not actively practicing a faith.

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