Skip Navigation LinksHome > Therapy101 > Types of Counseling > Pastoral Counseling
Find a therapist

Pastoral Counseling and You

With the support, love and encouragement of a religious leader combined with a psychologically sound medical therapy, many people find that pastoral counselors offer them the best of both worlds.

More people than ever before are turning to counselors, social workers, and therapists for guidance with their most pressing personal dilemmas. From Divorce to mental illness and beyond, psychotherapy has become almost commonplace in American society. Something else that’s on the rise among Americans? Spirituality.

In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, over 242 million Americans reported a belief in God.

Combining this growing need to attend to a person’s spiritual needs with the ever increasing demand for quality mental health services has led to a recent swell in the interest in pastoral counseling. So, just what is a pastoral counselor… and how can they help you?

Trained in both psychology and theology, pastoral counselors provide spiritual as well as psychological guidance to their patients. Combining these two aspects of life creates an approach to treatment that addresses the whole person—something that no other form of therapy does.

Some areas of your own life where a pastoral counselor might be able to help include:


Marital Issues

With divorce levels at an all time high in the United States, more and more Americans are seeking counseling services at various points throughout the marriage process. It’s not uncommon for engaged couples to see a pastoral counselor before they say “I do” in an effort to better understand each other and their expectations of married life.

Additionally, when married couples are having difficulties, they may find that a pastoral counselor is the best person to help them work out their troubles. The combination of faith and psychology can often succeed together, even when either has failed on their own. Even when divorce is inevitable, pastoral counselors can ease the process for both partners.


Illness, Death and Grieving

Dealing with the death of a loved one is a long and painful process. A pastoral counselor can help you move past the mental and emotional pain—bringing you to a new understanding of your world now that your loved one has gone on.

Counseling is also recommended for those facing a terminal illness or the possibility of long term illness. It can be exceedingly difficult to adjust to life with a debilitating disease, or to acclimate oneself to the idea of death. Working with you and your family, a pastoral counselor can help you create both a plan for the immediate future and long term goals that will make your time as fulfilling as possible.


Family Problems

When one member of a family is having trouble, it can affect the dynamic of the whole household. As both clergy and psychotherapists, pastoral counselors have a unique perspective on dealing with issues among family members.

Whether you have a child who is having problems functioning in school or are trying to meld two groups together after a marriage, counseling can mean the difference between struggles and success.