Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days to Awesome Relationships : : Day 17 : : ' . . . and my goal is to be a Pastoral Counselor'

Julie from Minnesota writes ... I am in Christian counseling at this time and my goal is to be a Pastoral Counselor. I just want to find out what direction do I go. I have asked God and he tells me to ask others what their experience is.
I finish the BA degree in May. I would really appreciate if you are able to answer this question. What classes or program do I take to become a Pastoral Counselor? Thank You and God Bless.

Hi Julie! 

I remember those days when I had the same questions!  You're on the right track.  You need a bachelor's degree before you start your master's.  And many counseling programs recommend that you go through a period of personal counseling as part of their coursework.  After all, it's hard to take others to a place of health and wholeness if you're not already well on the way yourself.  And we do tend to bring our stuff to the table if it hasn't been dealt with.  So this is a good step.

State Licensure
There are counseling programs that provide basic coursework which will allow you to work in many church, parachurch, and ministry settings, but will not include enough credits to allow you to be licensed by the state.  Other programs will give you the coursework you need to qualify you to pursue state licensure.  Many churches and organizations are now requiring their counselors to be licensed.  Licensure is also a requirement if you would like to accept insurance reimbursement.

A Pastoral Heart
If you want to counsel from a pastoral perspective, be sure that the program you choose provides you with solid biblical training and coursework in soul care/spiritual formation.

Certification as a pastoral counselor is different than state licensure.  If you want to be certified as a pastoral counselor, you will need to have a letter of recommendation, a ministry license, or ordination by a church or denomination.

Doing the Research
There are a number of counseling philosophies, even in Christian circles, so spend a great deal of time online and get to know the various graduate schools and seminaries.  Pick the brains of as many Christian counselors as you can, even as you start working the phones and connecting with various schools.  Knowing where and how you want to use your degree will help you decide which option is best for you.

A Few Places to Start
The fields truly are ripe and ready for harvest ... and the laborers are few {Luke 10:2}.  We are surrounded by broken souls whose unspoken desire is to be tenderly pastored with grace and mercy even as they are counseled with wisdom, truth, and skill.  I pray that God would give you all the direction you need as you pursue this call to ministry!
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1 comment:

  1. A Creekside FriendOctober 18, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Your info was very helpful and I have bookmarked the sites so I can go back and really read them.
    I hope you have a great day!

    [via email}


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