Clarifying the Roles in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Posted by Alvin Smith on September 30th, 2021

Summary: Since there is often confusion and interchanging in the usage of the terms pastoral care and counseling, this article helps to clarify between the two terms in terms of their roles and principles.

Pastoral care and counseling are two terms that are often mixed up. They are often interchanged despite them being two different things and having different roles and definitions. This merging arises due to the close interrelation between them and certain aspects that are common to both terms. This has led the terms pastoral care and counseling to be used interchangeably, not only in literature but also in the broader church community. Hence, if you are planning to enroll for a pastoral studies degree online, you should have a clear picture of the two terms and be able to distinguish between the two terms one needs to dive deeper into the definition and roles played within each of the fields.

Pastoral studies

Pastoral care is a practice that is as old as religion itself and is seen to be a ministry of helping a quite specific character. It deals with issues like troubled people who feel that their trouble involves the basic issues of human existence. The four distinct functions of pastoral care include healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling. Let us have a closer look at each one of them.

  • Healing: It is a function in which a representative helps a weakening person to be restored to a condition of wholeness, assuming that this restoration also helps in achieving a new level of spiritual insight and welfare.

  • Sustaining: This consists of helping a hurting person to endure to cut across a circumstance in which restoration to his previous condition of recovery from his affliction is impossible or improbable.

  • Guiding: This involves assisting the person to make confident choices between alternative courses of thought and action. These choices are viewed as affecting the person\'s present and future of the soul.

  • Reconciling: This function seeks to re-establish broken relationships between the person and the fellow men and also between the man and God.

The revised model of pastoral care, in the pastoral studies online, will include depth counseling, spiritual healing, supportive counseling, crisis counseling, education counseling, short-term decision making, confrontational counseling, and existential counseling. is essential for fulfilling the ancient functions of wealth.

Pastoral counseling

Counseling can be said to be a part of pastoral care since pastoral care includes two fields, pastoral calling, and pastoral counseling. Pastoral counseling also has the basic assumption same as that of the aim of the church, that is bringing people to Christ and Christian fellowship. If you are preparing for an online pastoral degree, then you should know the general principles of counseling, which include the following.

  • It is a matter of what one perceives then of what he says or does.

  • The success depends upon the personal qualities of the counselor, like warmth, sincerity, and responsiveness, rather than the techniques used.

  • There might be individual differences in what counselors do and how the client responds to it.

The conclusion

You might have now realized how pastoral care and counseling are closely interrelated and yet different from each other. If you are seeking a master of arts in pastoral studies, you must keep in mind that pastoral care is the overall ministry of the pastor in communicating the gospel to the people in crisis, through healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling. Whereas, counseling is a process in which the pastor seeks to help individuals who are in a crisis to achieve maturity in facing the problem through the functions of pastoral care.

Resource Box: St. Bernard\'s School of Theology and Ministry is one of the most trusted institutes for learning Christian theology and pastoral studies. It offers master\'s programs, graduate certificate programs, as well as distance learning and online education.

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Alvin Smith

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Alvin Smith
Joined: August 27th, 2020
Articles Posted: 176

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