Pastoral Counseling Explained

Pastoral Counseling is somewhat different based on the denomination of the clergy doing the counseling, as well as the specific training in therapy (or lack thereof) of the pastor or clergyman/clergyperson. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors indicates that their mission is to: “bring healing, hope, and wholeness to individuals, families, and communities by expanding and equipping spiritually grounded and psychologically informed care, counseling, and psychotherapy.”

Religious leaders have been around much longer than therapists, psychologists or psychoanalysts.  This history of the religious leaders supporting their communities and helping those with both physical and emotional problems has been the formational basis for pastoral counseling.  According to the AAPC, in the early 1900s the Rev. Anton Boisen and others, placed theological students in supervised contact with patients in psychiatric and general hospitals and other settings and developed mental health educational resources within theological environments.

Norman Vincent Peale , a well respected minister, joined with  Smiley Blanton, M.D., a psychiatrist, to form the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry in the 1930s.  That organization later became the  Blanton-Peale Institute, and fostered a collaboration between clergy and psychoanalytically oriented psychiatrists.  Some might say that pastoral counseling should be more cognitively focused to shift towards short-term Cognitive Behavioral therapy, or even the lesser known Schema Therapy.  You’ll find pastoral counselors using modalities ranging across the spectrum of modalities and types of therapy.

There are several therapists within the CTA network that can weave spirituality and religious foundations into their therapy, based on your faith.

To schedule an appointment with one of CTA’s therapists in the NY or CT, please call us at 212-258-2577.

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