WHAT IS A PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselors (KLPCs) or psychotherapists are ordained ministers who have graduated from an accredited seminary and have three or more additional years of clinical training and supervision in crisis intervention, psychological studies, and clinical behavioral health skills. Most pastoral psychotherapists also receive an additional master’s degree during their three or more years of clinical training. Pastoral psychotherapists are counted among other mental and behavioral healthcare providers, such as clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, substance abuse counselors, adolescent and children’s counselors, and certified clinical social workers. Pastoral psychotherapists seek to treat the whole person—mind, body, and spirit.
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK HELP FROM A PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
A licensed pastoral psychotherapist is trained in both psychology and theology and thus can address psychological, as well as spiritual, issues. You should consider meeting with a licensed pastoral psychotherapist if you are experiencing emotional difficulties and wish to address these matters in the context of psychology and spirituality.
HOW DOES “PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPY" OR "PASTORAL COUNSELING” DIFFER FROM “COUNSELING”?
Pastoral counseling, or pastoral psychotherapy, is very much like the counseling that you would receive from any other counseling professional (psychotherapist, licensed social worker, psychologist), except that licensed pastoral counselors also have been trained in issues of spirituality and faith. When counselees seek to integrate their faith and religious understanding into how they address their problems, a licensed pastoral counselor can competently facilitate this process.
ARE FEES OF PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPISTS COMPARABLE TO THOSE OF OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS?
The fees of pastoral counseling at The Clinic @ The Montgomery are comparable to those of other health care professionals. However, it is the prevailing ethic of pastoral counseling that every effort is made to treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay. As a result, The Clinic operates with an Adjusted Fee Schedule, a reduced fee construct to assist those whose total monthly household income presents challenges to securing quality mental healthcare on a limited basis. Arrangements must be made directly with Dr. Carroll, Clinic Director, prior to scheduling the inital session.
WHEN SHOULD A PASTOR REFER A CONGREGANT TO A PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
Counseling and support are considered an integral part of any pastor's ministry. However, there are times when the needs of a congregant go beyond a pastor's offering of support and encouragement in order to encompass longer-term or more skilled psychotherapy. This is especially important, for instance, when a pastor suspects the problem may be clinical depression—a debilitating medical illness, or some other more serious mental or behavioral issue. Only a physician or mental health professional is able to diagnose clinical depression and other mental illnesses.
A pastor should refer a congregant to a licensed pastoral counselor when the congregant desires an integrated religious and psychological approach to treatment, and the pastor is unable to provide the most effective therapy needed by the individual.
DO PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPISTS COUNSEL PEOPLE OF FAITHS DIFFERENT FROM THEIR OWN?
Licensed pastoral counselors are found in every major Protestant denomination, as well as the Roman Catholic church and Jewish faith, and they do work with people of faiths different from their own, including serving those with no pronounced faith at all. While, in practice, clients often prefer to work with a licensed pastoral counselor who shares their faith and beliefs, the openness of the theoretical approach offered at The Clinic @ The Montgomery has made our work more inviting for those of non-traditional or non-expressed faith traditions, as well as those who profess to be agnostic or atheistic. In initial meetings, the client is invited to inform the therapist as to what extent the client wishes to delve into spiritual matters, in order that the client and licensed pastoral counselor are comfortable with each other's perspective.
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON BECOMES A PASTORAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
Just like in other counseling professions, there isn’t a stereotype of a pastoral counselor. All licensed pastoral counselors strive to integrate psychology and spirituality into the counseling experience in order to offer a more holistic approach to healing.
DO PASTORAL COUNSELORS PREACH TO THEIR CLIENTS?
No. Licensed pastoral counselors respect the religious beliefs, if any, of their counselees and do not impart their religious convictions to them. Licensed pastoral counselors help clients use the resources of personal faith to respond to their presenting situation.