Below are a couple of dozen short tips to Pastoral Counselling that might be useful for you!
"Pastoral counselling is a matter of the heart as well as an art." - D.A.Seamands
Therefore, hard work is in stall for those heading in the direction of listening, praying and speaking. If you will not take the challenge to commit yourself to God’s call to this task, change line now!
It is not the methods or the techniques used during a counselling enocounter that makes it effective; it is the presence of God, that makes any counselling session relevant and hopeful.
Man’s basic problem:
"We often think that God is like us, forgetting that our views of Him affect all of our lives. The solution lies not in being contented with ignorance but in seeking the true God till we find Him."
"If only we see and accept our real selves as the true God sees and accepts us, many of our chronic problems will be solved, by His grace."
Pastoral counselling inevitably includes indentification in intercession though intercession may not lead to pastoral counselling.
Pastoral counsellors need to recognise the short-term benefit of counselling if they do not work together with others, in their church or society, who have other gifts that they do not have.
They need to accept their limitations when they encounter problems which they cannot handle. It may be better to over-refer than to under-refer though they must not refer just to get out of a job they do not like!
They sometimes meet with counsellees who see a few counsellors within the same period of time. When that happens, they have to advise them to see one counsellor at a time, especially if it is for the same problem. Otherwise, confusion of roles with wastage of time and energy on all involved will occur…and more harm than good may result.
As soon as possible, the one-to-one help administered by a pastoral counsellor to a counsellee must be shifted to or co-exist with a group-to-one therapy for the good of the counsellee. This is because since God has created us in His image in the context of community, it is only in His community will a person be nurtured into His maturity.
Whereas a counsellor trained in purely scientific psychology helps a counsellee deal with his false guilt, one trained in biblical theology and psychology helps a counsellee deal with his true and false guilt.
Most pastoral counsellors are dragged into the job. Why? Perhaps it is due to the intensity of the counselling relationships and goals. Consider Moses in Exodus and Jesus in Gethsemane. May be this is one way to test whether you have been called to the ministry of pastoral counselling.
In pastoral counselling, we need to be skilfull and careful with useof the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God as expressed in the Scriptures. It cuts both ways.Repentance is a precious gift of God. It is a sign of God’s breakthrough in the counsellee’s life and leads to deeper reconciliation with the holy and gracious God.