What is Pastoral Counseling? Accredited pastoral counselors are ordained ministers, priests or rabbis who have specialized clinical training and experience in the behavioral sciences which they integrate with their theological training and experience to provide holistic (mind, body, spirit) counseling for individuals, couples and families.
According to a national survey conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Research in 2000, 75 per cent of respondents indicated that seeing a professional counselor who integrates their values and beliefs into the counseling process was important, and 83 per cent said their spirituality and/or religious beliefs are closely tied to their mental and emotional health.
Accredited pastoral counselors are credentialed by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), www.aapc.org and maintain an accountable relationship to their particular faith tradition. For further information regarding pastoral counseling, consult the AAPC website. Many pastoral counselors are also Clinical Members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), www.aamft.org.
If accredited pastoral counselors may, when appropriate, “expose” their particular moral and spiritual values–as, for example, when this is a matter of specific concern for certain clients–sensitive and ethical pastoral counselors never “impose” their values. Thus, pastoral counselors are equally appropriate to offer psychotherapy for persons who define themselves as religious or spiritual, as well as those who would define themselves otherwise.