Think of it as a very broad approach to counseling
I had to think long and hard about whether to identify as a pastoral counselor, knowing that there are subtle (or not-so-subtle) associations that follow, consciously or unconsciously, from that ‘approach.’
Pastoral counseling can be a very wide rubric, so wide that any fixed characterization of it would be misleading –that’s why I use the term ‘approach.’ Sadly, some use the approach in ways that I find alienating and narrow.
Ear for spiritual issues
For me, in my practice, it means something very close to psychodynamic psychotherapy (think Donald Winnicott and Carl Jung) with a finely tuned ear for spiritual issues (think Jung again, or someone with similarly broad theological associations). I am glad to have found clinicians who also are very broad in their spiritual worldview.
Knowing there is something ‘bigger’
I see people who happen to be atheists, Buddhists, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants. All of them are aware that there is a larger Reality, something bigger than the real problem they’re facing.
We work together to help listen for what that larger Reality is for them and how they are engaging with it as part of their self-understanding.
Really, really, we are far more than our minds and bodies.
You will do well to find a therapist who can listen and respond to the heights and depths, the ordinary and the extraordinary, about you.
I listen and look for signs of emotional, physical, social, spiritual, sexual, relational, and intellectual health and development. Being a pastoral therapist to me simply means that I’m listening from the deepest places inside of me to the deepest places inside of you. I take the health and well-being of your body, mind, and spirit very seriously.
It may be that we never speak directly about spiritual issues.
I would never dream of ‘beating you over the head with a Bible’ – or a Torah, or a Koran (some people, like me, have had bad experiences in abusive churches, so I get the concern). It may never move beyond a quiet undercurrent to our conversations.
If you come from a particular spiritual tradition, I will meet you there and speak your language. If you’re moving – or running! – away from a particular tradition, I’ll meet you there, too.
I will be curious about what you believe, or don’t believe, and the way that shapes you; but I will welcome you, whatever you may believe, or doubt, or feel.
So, why would you want to see a pastoral therapist like me?
Because I see, hear, and respond to a great deal more of you than a therapist who is not trained or interested in those aspects.
Everything is connected: leaving the spiritual out is like… taking blue out of the rainbow, or a major third out of a chord, or salt and spices out of the kitchen.
Sure, you can make paintings, music, and food without those; but what a tragic loss that would be. You – my client – definitely deserve all the color, all the music, all the flavor that fits you!
I will help you find the wisdom within, which you can access with help.
Call (615) 289-6546 to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.