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Models of Pastoral Counseling
Transcript of Models of Pastoral Counseling
Professor Christopher Cook, MA, MDiv, LPCA
- Brief/Time Limited
- Spiritually Focused
Strategic Pastoral Counseling
- Problem Specific
- Uses religious resources (prayer, Scripture, etc.)
- Use of theological language
- Encourages reliance on Holy Spirit, for counselor and client
- Boundary Setting
- Explore Presenting Issue
- Pastoral Diagnosis
- Goal Setting
- Evaluate Progress
- Assess Concerns
- Provide Referral
- Explore Problem
- Identify Resources for Change
Encounter is about:
Engagement is about Interacting with:
- Brief/Time Limited
- Many Available Solutions
- Systems Oriented
- Future Focused
- Client Driven
- Strength Focused
- Problem Specific
- Change Can Happen Quickly
- Client is the Expert
- Counselor is the Expert Learner
Determine and Describe Goals
Define Client's Position in Relationship to Goal
Evaluate Past Success
Discover Keys To Success
1. Set up
2. “Miracle” – something positive and valuable, with large ramifications, that is not likely to happen easily without help
3. Defining the miracle
4. The miracle happens “tonight” – immediacy
5. Client unawareness that the miracle has occurred – leads to final key…
- Scales are measures of desired aspects
- Diagnostic scales: used by therapist to better understand client (Sure vs. unsure of what client needs to do for change)
- Therapeutic scales: used clinically to scale where client is in relation to the goal (Miracle, element of goal, etc.)
- Client is expert – therapist is discovering with client
- Scaling often used to gather information
- Stay solution-focused and exception-focused (Depression at 7/10 – “Why 7 and not 4 or 5?”)
- The number itself does not matter as much as what the client means by it. (“Is 3/10 good or bad today?”)
- Help clients determine whether proposed changes are beneficial to the overall goal.
- Build client enthusiasm and hope.
- Highlight the meaning and value of what is being discussed.
- Underscore the “so what” of the conversation.
- “How will these changes make a difference in your life?
- “How will your life be better because of these changes?
- “We are talking about a miracle happening for you, but if it happens, so what?”
“What differences will _____ notice when your miracle happens?”
“How worried (concerned, etc.) is _____ about this area that you are concerned about?” (Scaling)
“How will _____ respond differently to you when these changes begin to happen in your life?”
- Vital to solution-focused therapy.
- Based on the assumption that problems are not always occurring.
- Invites clients to focus on specific times when the problem was solved or when a solution presented itself.
- Involves training yourself to hear the exceptions.
- Forcing and arguing is counter-productive.
- Verbal highlighting of areas that are normally overlooked, especially the exceptions.
- Compliments must be:
- Interspersed through all interactions (not “saved”)
- Reserved for those things the client has already indicated are important
- Accompanied by exploring questions about how the thing was done
4 Basic Principles
- Strength Based
- Potential for Change is Real
Roll with Resistance
- Withdraw from Battle
- Avoid "Yes, but..."
- Mismatch between "where you are" and "where you want to be"
Toolbox - OARS Skills
Invite elaboration and further thought
- Recognize Strengths
- Build Support
- Bring Empathy to Life
- Focus on Negative Aspects of Status Quo and Positive Aspects of Change
- Highlight Both Sides of Ambivalence
- Can Mark Change or Shifting Points
Collaboration (vs. Confrontation
Evocation/Drawing Out (vs. Imposing)
Autonomy (vs. Authority)
3 Key Elements
Three Distinct Approaches
Focus on Solutions
Reduce Ambivalence and Encourage Decisiveness
A woman who came in with a marriage problem. She was very unhappy in her relationship with her husband. They were both committed Christians. They had been married for several years, and they had three children. Her husband was a gifted individual who was active in church ministry. She told me that she was on the verge of asking her husband to leave. She said, “This is so unlike me. I can’t believe that I’m even thinking about this, much less expressing it to a counselor.”
When I asked her what the problem was she replied, “He is often harsh and angry. He loses his temper at the slightest provocation. He yells at me; he yells at the kids; and it’s affecting my love for him.” She went on to explain that the affection she once felt for him was almost gone. She said, “I don’t want him to touch me, especially after he has been harsh.” Her husband, like most men, wanted to hug and kiss her as a way to “make up” after they had had an argument.
She continued, “I’m seeing the effect that his anger is having on the children. They are afraid of him. One of the worst things about his outbursts is that we all have to walk on eggshells to prevent setting him off. Another thing I’ve noticed is that when he’s not around, the children have begun to express that same kind of anger towards one another.” She concluded with the statement, “I just don’t think I can take it anymore. I know Christians are not supposed to separate, but I’m ready to ask him to leave.”
Can Pastoral Counselors, in good conscience, roll with resistance?
Is there a moral imperative to convey what is "right"?
- Keep role in mind.
- Consider effectiveness, not just action.
- Power factors in.
Isn't Client-Centered Antithetical to Christ-Centered or Scripture-Centered? Isn't the idea that clients have what they need within them to solve their problems opposed to good theology?
- The term is relative to it's context: Client-centered as opposed to counselor-centered, or as opposed to clients being dependent on counselors.
- The term focuses the attention on the one in need. Christ and Scripture can be the place to draw the client's focus to, but the focus of the activity (pastoral counseling) is directed toward helping the client.
- A high view of Scriptural autonomy and proper understanding of "solve their problems" can help resolve this difficulty.
- Trust the Holy Spirit - God is working, and it may look like change is coming from within the client.
Helping People Resolve Ambivalence and Make Good Decisions
What If People Want to Resolve Their Ambivalence in the Wrong Direction?
- Be realistic about your ability to actually change people's minds.
- When someone agrees to something in session that they feel coerced into, that is not the same as change.
- My story with congregant.
- Remember that their time with you is only one small part of their spiritual journey.
What about Christ as the Solution?
- Solution vs. solutions
- Need: Reconciliation with God
How: Substitutionary Atonement
- Need: Forgive Spouse
How: Here Solution-Focus may be able to help
Solution-Focused Counseling Cannot Address "Root Causes"
- Solution-Focused Counseling is a systems approach - there are no "root causes"
Argue with Spouse
- Solution-Focused Counseling is Future-Oriented - the goal is a life lived with more solutions, not to address a particular "problem"
- If there are truly "causal" factors, sometimes mitigation of symptoms needs to be dealt with first
- Remember to distinguish role of Pastoral Counselor from the other ministerial roles that you may have.
- Be aware of where people "are" when they seek out help (Hurting, confused, desperate, vulnerable, etc.).
- Pastoral Counseling is only one small part of your clients' spiritual journey. Sometimes a small step forward is all they need or are ready for.
- Rely on the Holy Spirit to do the work.