What is pastoral counseling?
Pastoral counseling is a unique form of therapy that combines the insights and principles of religion, theology and modern behavioral sciences. Pastoral counselors are certified mental health professionals who have also had in-depth religious and /or theological training. We believe that life’s crises and transitions are best met with both the wisdom of religious teachings and the knowledge of modern human sciences.
What does it mean to integrate body, mind, spirit, and community?
Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center therapists understand and appreciate something very basic about human nature. Kenneth Pargament writes, “When people walk into the therapist’s office, they don’t leave their spirituality behind in the waiting room. They bring their spiritual beliefs, practices, experiences, values, relationships, and struggles along with them.”
Spirituality is woven into the fabric of everyday living as well as during times of crisis, transition, and turning points. Feelings of loss and emptiness, questions about meaning and purpose, a sense of alienation, abandonment, injustice, and unfairness are all a part of the spiritual dimension of life.
According to a nationwide Gallup Survey, 81% said that if they had a serious problem that required counseling, they would prefer to see a professional counselor who would help them integrate their values and beliefs into the counseling process. Clearly, many, if not most, people in the United States draw on their spirituality when they encounter significant problems. There is a deeper dimension to our problems. Illness, accidents, interpersonal conflicts, divorce, layoffs, and death are more than “significant life events.” They raise profound and disturbing questions about our place and purpose in the world.
Samaritan counselors seek to integrate these 4 dimensions of life: body, mind, spirit, and community. Samaritan counselors use a team approach using the psychological, medical, and theological disciplines with professionally trained and licensed therapists, clergy, nurse practitioners, and physicians. Respect is shown for each client’s belief system. And while each counselor is committed fully and deeply to religious beliefs and traditions of their own, each counselor is respectful, compassionate, open, and appreciative of the client’s beliefs, including a crisis or absence of faith.
Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center is the Center of Choice for Excellence in counseling, education, and consultation. Accreditation standards require the employment of highly qualified staff – multi-disciplinary and state credentialed. The Center’s therapists share a philosophical commitment to integrate the body, mind, spirit, and community in the therapy experience. As therapists respectfully and intentionally integrate a client’s faith perspective, individuals, couples, and families all participate in outcome measures over the course of treatment.
Client change is measured as well as the nature and effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship. All clinicians at the Center have demonstrated and/or exceeded the criteria for effectiveness. People seeking services present with a variety of issues including: stress, depression, anxiety, marital problems, troubled teens, financial problems, substance abuse, addictions, adjustment and transition issues such as unemployment, grief, loss, divorce, retirement, aging parents, and chronic illness. Coastal Samaritan provides warm hospitality and compassionate care. Ultimately, clients receive hope and healing.
What if I don’t subscribe to an organized religion?
One of the core principles of pastoral counseling is respecting the beliefs of all people and all faiths. The unique background and training of a pastoral counselor creates a therapeutic environment in which all concerns are addressed with dignity and sensitivity. Our purpose is to assist you in integrating your beliefs, whatever they may be, with how you meet and resolve your current problems.
How are pastoral counselors trained?
The American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) holds pastoral counselors to rigorous standards of excellence in education and clinical training, professional certification and licensure. Typical educational background for a pastoral counselor includes:
* a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
* a professional degree from a school of theology or seminary
* a specialized masters or doctoral degree in the mental health field
In addition, pastoral counselors are required to complete over 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Finally, those who wish to become pastoral counselors undergo extensive testing and evaluation before being certified by the AAPC. This ensures that individuals receiving certification are the most qualified not only in education and training, but possess the highest personal standards as well.
How does pastoral counseling proceed?
The first step is as simple as phone call. The compentent staff person you speak with will ask a series of questions in order to get a clear understanding of your needs. It may seem like a lot of questions – talking about your problems, especially if it’s for the first time, may be a little intimidating. Answer clearly and honestly as you can; the more information you can give us, the better we’ll be able to assist you.
In most cases, the initial phone contact will conclude with an appointment being scheduled. Your first few meetings with your counselor will be rather in-depth and may take some time. This is because we believe it’s critical to understand more than the problem that’s brought you to us – Your expectations, your spiritual beliefs and your cultural background are all equally important in determining how treatment should proceed.
How long does it take?
The time required to experience the full benefit of counseling depends on several factors, the most important being the goals you and your counselor have agreed to achieve. In some cases, pastoral counseling may take only a few sessions; in others, the work you and your counselor do together may take several years.
What does it cost?
Fee for pastoral counseling are based on the amount of time involved and the type of help you need. Ordinarily, appointments are once or twice a week and last about 45 to 50 minutes. Group therapy may last up to an hour and a half.
Your fee will be set with your counselor on your visit. Many pastoral counseling centers have an adjusted fee scale based on your income and general ability to pay. CSCC also accepts most major insurance plans.
How do I get started?
Simply call Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center at (843) 448-4820 during regular business hours Monday through Friday.