A pastoral counselor needs to know the best possible approach to counseling that is beneficial to him or her in identifying counsel needs and expectations. The process of identification involves strong communication skills, an understanding of different personality traits, a solid foundation of biblical principles, and knowledge of diagnosis and treatments pertaining to mental health. The objective of this paper is in reflecting on prior experiences in counseling while recognizing current needs, expectations of PACE 500 (Introduction to Pastoral
Counseling) and a description of an approach to pastoral counseling. Introduction 4 An Opened Door Information at a Glance 7 References ….. 10 CONTENTS Focused Approach . Conclusion 6 . 9 Rubric Many pastors are not properly equipped to deal with the many mental issues that people face in their day-to-day life (Collar, 2011 As an evangelist, I have had the opportunity to counsel, encourage, and strengthen others on a pastoral level but lack the professional tools needed to provide the help needed in caring for those with mental issues.
I have a masters degree in psychology that feel will be an asset in helping others when properly used. Collar’s book title captured my attention because it is a perfect description of my goal in Christian ministry: Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling: An Effective Short-Term Approach to Getting people Back on Track (Collar, 2011). The spiritual aspect of getting people back on track is of a top priority in ministry yet one cannot overlook the resources available for those needing a more professional approach to life issues.
Through this course, I want to be able to counsel the “total” person: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and professionally. As a student of Liberty University Theological Seminary, my endeavor is in combining knowledge of psychology with counseling on a pastoral as well as professional level, using biblical principles as a firm foundation to promote life changes. An Opened Door fife experience is one of the many ways of helping others recognize ways of overcoming adversities. I remember hearing the phrase, “You cannot talk about what you do not know,” and recall pondering on that statement.
Truthfully, it is hard to convince another of something that you have little knowledge of. Throughout life, I never understood why my passion for people was so great. My concern with people was always in helping them find a elution to whatever problem they had. I was taught at an early age to not focus all my attention on the problem I faced but more on the one who could solve the problem no matter how small or great. That one being the creator of this world, God. Solution-focused pastoral counseling (ESP.) allows a visualization of an outcome to a problem and a means to reach that outcome.
Collar (201 1) States, “The outcome dictates the process rather than the process dictating the outcome (p. 15). My openness in sharing my testimony of overcoming HIVE/AIDS has allowed many opportunities for me to help there like me cope and deal with a positive diagnosis. In participating with doctors and other health care professionals in promoting awareness of this disease and offering volunteer support to those willing to accept help. I have gained a range of skills in helping others cope through ministering the word of God. Whether seeking support, encouragement or counsel many come with deeper mental issues.
Issues that am not prepared to handle with biblical principles alone. This conclusion came to me after speaking with other HIVE positive young women. In speaking with one particular young lady, it came evident that the initial diagnosis caused many fears that was well aware of. Her bundle of emotions reminded me so much of self at a point in my life. One thing I knew that helped me, was having someone to talk too. She often spoke of her fear of dying, loneliness, an inability to afford necessary medical treatment, and suicidal tendencies.
She was always open to prayer and soon felt comfortable enough to attend church with me. Even though I had an experience dealing in some of the same type of emotions, I was not equipped to deal with the magnitude of the issues she faced. Not dead for others to know about her diagnosis and thinking that people would figure out her new found connection with me, she slowly stopped attending services. Witnessing mood swings and strange behavior made me realize that a license to minister was not enough to offer the adequate help this woman would need.
Knowing what it took for me to cope with HIVE/AIDS caused me to have an interest in gaining necessary training to become an effective minister and counselor. A Focused Approach Enrolling at Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in Christian Ministries became the focused approach that I would need to gain access to he tools needed to become an effective pastoral counselor and enhance the leadership training given through Monument of Faith Ministries. Upon receiving materials for this class, it was evident that there was a lot to be gained from each book.
Certainly, I recognized a need to learn better communication skills. J. C. Peterson book entitled, “Why Don’t We Listen Better? Communicating and Connecting in Relationships” emphasizes the importance of communication balancing. Communication balancing involves listening awhile, talking until the other person stops hearing, and listening until the person calms enough to hear again. The reading from this book would allow an understanding of how a mixture of feeling and thinking effects relationships.
This understanding, Peterson (2007) called, “The Flat Brain Theory of Emotions which pictures what’s happening inside us when things are going well, and how that changes when they’re not” (p. 11). This will aid in helping counselors relate to their counsel and understand their thoughts, as well as feelings. Proper communication is a key factor in reaching a counsel and better understanding their needs. Carbondale (2008), “How to Solve the People Puzzle: Understanding Personality Patterns,” ties into the concept of communication through learning how to respond to others.
Counselors need to know why people do or respond as they do. Learning the different personality types mentioned in the Four Temperament Model of Human Behavior is a major component in solving a person’s personality patterns. According to Carbondale (2008), “People fit better in life where they are understood and comfortable (p. 13). The temperament model is that of a disc that reflects multiple combinations of traits that represent human behavior. Digging into a person’s personality type loud better assist in improving behavioral outcomes.
Information at a Glance Whether pastoral or professional, counseling is a serious business with significant responsibilities. Any pastoral counselor should know when a counsel is displaying mental issues that need professional care and have proper resources to refer the counsel too. In addition, it helps to know the warning signs or mental illness and how to approach a counsel who suffers from mental illness and a variety of issues that counselors face. Clinton and Hawkins (2009) uses the three-legged stool metaphor to detail the helping ministry of the church.
In this Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling, Clinton and Hawkins state, “People serving at all three levels (pastor, professional clinician, and lay leader or minister) must develop both the character and servant qualities that reflect the grace and truth of Christ himself,” (p. 8). God’s word is truth and this book is going to be a benefit to up and coming pastoral counselors in teaching means of dealing with counsel issues through a biblical view. Thinking about the session with the young lady previously mentioned, the spiritual insights and action steps would have offered guidance in dealing with her emotional outbursts.
The Ministers Guide to Psychological Disorders and Treatments by W. B. Johnson and W. L. Johnson appears to be a link between psychology and counseling; one of the reasons why I decided to enroll in pastoral counseling. Having a Master’s Degree in Psychology, wanted to know how to connect psychology and counseling using biblical principles. The minister’s guide places psychological information within a pastor’s reach in his or her role in shepherding a church (Johnson & Johnson, 2014). In addition, it will allow the pastoral counselor to agonize when a referral to another professional is needed.
Conclusion Pastoral counseling is unique in that it uses psychological understanding and spiritual concepts and resources for healing and growth. The material for this class is going to be a helpful and effective tool in the learning process, as well as resource guide in the future. Reading the chapters for the first week of class, I am convinced that I chose the right degree to pursue. This class is the beginning of a goal to counsel the “total” person: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and professionally. Carbondale, M. (2008). How to solve the people puzzle: Understanding personality patterns.