Pastoral Counseling and Faith Issues

Volume 17
Summer 1989
Pastoral Counseling and Faith Issues

What is distinctively "€œpastoral"€ about pastoral counseling? This article proposes that the vital center of pastoral counseling is guidance of persons toward life lived out in accordance with a set of ultimate values and meanings. The proposal is elaborated upon by discussing the tasks of guiding persons experiencing difficulties with aspects of their faith. Pastoral ministry today is both enhanced and plagued by a proliferation of expectations. Struggling to meet all of them, many pastoral counselors are experiencing distress over a threatened loss of identity. They ask, with increasing frequency: In all of the many kinds of counseling I am now doing, where is the distinctively pastoral contribution to be found? On what basis do I continue to call myself a pastoral counselor? For all their expanding competencies as pastoral counselors, one central expectation of their work continues prominently among believers and nonbelievers alike. People continue to hope that pastoral counselors, because they are pastoral counselors, can help them to grow in the light of ultimate values and meanings. How to facilitate such growth is the concern of the present article.

Dr. L.T. Howe
144 - 150
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