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Religious Counseling

Pastoral counseling is a branch of counselingin which psychologically trained ministers,rabbis,priests, imams, and other persons provide therapy services. Pastoral counselors often integrate modern psychological thought and method with traditional religious training in an effort to address psychospiritual issues in addition to the traditional spectrum of counseling services. "What distinguishes pastoral counseling from other forms of counseling and psychotherapy is the role and accountability of the counselor and his or her understanding and expression of the pastoral relationship. Pastoral counselors are representatives of the central images of life and its meaning affirmed by their religious communities. Thus pastoral counseling offers a relationship to that understanding of life and faith. Pastoral counseling uses both psychological and theological resources to deepen its understanding of the pastoral relationship." Membership in several organizations that combine theology and mental health has grown in recent years. Some pastoral counselors have developed special training programs to encourage cooperation between religious professionals and medical professionals on treatment of issues like addiction, since spirituality is an important part of recovery for many people. Christian Counseling began in the end of the 1960s leading into the 1970s with the Biblical Counseling Movement directed by Jay E. Adams which brought to attention in his book Competent to Counsel a Christian-based approach which was different from the psychological and psychiatric solutions of the time. He was a devout Protestant who believed that it was the job of the church to heal people who he believed were morally corrupt, but labeled by society as mentally ill. He rejected other models of counseling, such as the Medical model, which gave clients a medical diagnosis based on a list of their behaviors or actions. Adams believed the lists of maladaptive behaviors listed under each diagnostic category, were actually behaviors emanating from our volitional nature, rather than an illness we were suffering from. Maladaptive behaviors are a matter of sin and therefore subject to confrontation and education in God's word, exhorting the client to choose behavior that is obedient to God's word, thus removing the sin in their life. Adams' disagreed with any attempt to reclassify our behavior that removed us from complete responsibility for our choices.

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