Friday, 2 September 2011

Secular Counselling and the Church

** exert from the counselling assignment I recently handed in - I changed my views halfway through and had to go back and rewrite my introduction.**

Within the current community of Academia there is much contribution to the study, research and instruction on models for counselling. However, in the construct of pastoral care counselling plays a specific and important role, which in many cases goes beyond the boundaries of secular counselling texts. If that is the case, is secular counselling research a help or hindrance to the notion of counselling within pastoral care?

In one sense the mainstream study misses the entire point of pastoral care in that it encourages the client to find within themselves the answer and power to overcome their problems. Pastoral care in and of itself is almost always pointing to the fact that we alone cannot overcome our own issues, as Mark Driscoll says “…the root of every problem in the world is sin. The answer is Jesus.”

Though a client may be affected by an issue that is completely not their own doing, or a completely natural cause, the underlying reality of sin and a broken world are the very root of that issue. In many cases there is personal sin involved yet secular counselling methods appear to help the client search for an explanation external to themselves. Pastoral care cannot do this.

Even so, the positive response is that once pastoral care has the correct Biblical foundation of helping people to realise the work of God in their issues and look to him for ultimate healing. Then the practical methods from texts such as Geldard and Geldard provide a succinct, detailed and purposeful guide to develop effective and rewarding counselling relationships which will be helpful to the pastoral carer in achieving closure and healing for their client.

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