What is a Pastoral Counselor?
A pastoral counselor is a counselor that begins with the solid foundation of the Bible and the principles with in it. Begininng with that foundation (or point of view), the pastoral counselor will rely on those principles to shape the counseling they provide. They are usually a licensed pastor (which I am), as well as, well read in the areas of psychology that are also validated in the Bible (Christian Psychology). As an individual or a couple, you don't have to be a Christian to benefit from the wisdom the Bible provides. And there will be no effort to convert clients to becoming a Christian. I am more than happy, however, to provide that information, should any client ask for it.
Is counseling right for me?
Seeking out counseling is a persongal choice. There are many reasons why people seek counseling. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a counselor as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a counselor can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Counsel is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Do I really need counseling? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, counseling is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking counseling. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can counseling help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Counselors can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, and stress management. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
Unfortunately, we do not take insurance at this time.
Is Pastoral Counseling confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and their Pastoral Counselor. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The counselor is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The counselor is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The counselor will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.