7.23.2005

Pastoral Counseling, Philosophy, and Theology?

Below are a few interesting excerpts from Counseling in Context, written by David Atkinson and Francis Bridger, the latter of whom is the proff for my class, Ethics of Pastoral Care and Counseling.

Is it legitimate to use the term ‘Christian counseling’, over and against counseling in general? Should we speak simply of ‘counseling by Christians’ which lays the emphasis upon the distinctiveness of the counselor rather than the process or context of the counseling? Or should we speak of ‘counseling in a Christian context’? (p. 23)

Are psychology and theology to be regarded as friends or enemies? Should they operate as alliance or antithesis? (p. 42)

Our starting point must be to acknowledge that the theological and philosophical context in which counseling takes place is rarely made explicit. Few counselors receive either theological or philosophical training and although some leading counseling theorists have recognized that mere therapeutic technique is not enough, at the day to day clinical level, most counselors operate without looking at their presuppositions at all. Counseling is perceived as dealing with real people in the real world with real problems. Theology and philosophy are perceives as dealing with high-flown abstractions. We shall try to show that far from being irrelevant to counseling, philosophy and theology are essential. (p. 53)

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