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A pastoral counselor is uniquely trained to provide psychological counseling that is also informed by theological training and practice. When we work together to explore the issues and problems you bring to the counseling process, I provide a combination of life experience, in-depth study of the human psyche, well-researched methods for creating healthy relationships, and a deep faith in the human potential for growth and healing. Listening, also, to the movement of the Spirit can be an essential ingredient in this process.

Pastoral Counseling has a long history of providing solace and guidance for persons when life has become confusing, overwhelming, and unusually difficult. Working with a pastoral counselor in the safe sanctuary of the counseling relationship, persons can explore their own inner resources, as well as the resources of their particular faith-traditions in order to find answers to the questions of their lives. Usually pastoral counseling lasts from one session to several weeks or months, depending on the nature of the problems being addressed.

Psychotherapy is similar to pastoral counseling but is usually experienced by persons as being more in-depth. Indeed, the root meaning of “psychotherapy, literally refers to “God’s (Theos) working on the soul (psyche).” Often the problems we encounter in living go beyond simply exploring the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of which we are consciously aware. There are also hidden or unconscious aspects of ourselves that lie under the surface of awareness. A pastoral counselor is willing to explore with you the more subtle layers of problems in order to find both solid answers and more deeply felt meanings. It may take longer to do embark on this kind of journey –typically three (3) to six(6) months, or longer – but the long-lasting results are very much worth it.

Spiritual Direction, in some ways, is similar to both pastoral counseling and psychotherapy; but the focus is different. Sometimes referred to as spiritual companionship, this is basically a three-way process between the Spiritual Director, the directee, and the Holy Spirit (or Higher Power). Instead of seeking to solve particular problems or issues, Spiritual Direction seeks to bring about a deeper awareness of God’s presence in one’s life. In his book, Soulmaking, Alan Jones says: “The hardest part of moving into mature believing is to allow oneself to be the object of God’s delight.” The goal, then, is to listen deeply as the Spirit moves within the life of the directee through the practices of silence, worship, devotional readings, attending to ones dreams, and taking particular notice of the ordinary surprises and mysteries of one’s life and relationships.