What is the Difference Between Pastoral Counselling and Pastoral Care?

Pastoral CareOne of the roles of pastors is to be there for people in their congregation when they are going through a hard time. This may be called pastoral counselling or pastoral care. Except, those are not the same thing.

Pastoral counselling is a specific kind of pastoral care. True pastoral counselling requires specific training because it includes psychological principles and is a type of therapy.

I hear a lot of pastors talk about doing counselling even though they don’t have the necessary training. Either they are providing unqualified counselling or they are doing something other than counselling.

I do not provide pastoral counselling. I provide pastoral care. I listen to the people who come to me. I may ask questions to help them understand their situation. I pray for them and continue to walk with them through their journey.

I suspect there are pastors who slip into counselling without the necessary training. This can be dangerous.

If you are interested in counselling, I suggest that you get the training. It may be a valuable asset to your pastoral ministry.

But otherwise, stick to pastoral care and refer people to trained counsellors as needed.


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