A WORD FROM Dr Veronica…
For over 20 years, I’ve meet with folks for 45 minute-sessions. And for over 20 years, I’ve struggled to end at 45 minutes. This is especially true when I have felt like I didn’t “finish the job.” When there is lingering emotion or unresolved questions, it’s difficult to say, “Well, look at the time!” I feel like there’s more to be done. Parents might resonate with this sentiment when their teenagers are poised to launch, but they see all the ways their teen is not ready to take on the world. Parents know there is more to be done! (Are they even changing their underwear every day?!?)
The rub is that as teens enter adulthood (18 years old, believe it or not), they are supposed to be responsible, yet teens only learn responsibility by being launched. For example, they don’t have to learn financial responsibility until their shelter depends on it. The bad news is that teens won’t be ready. That’s normal (although terrifying).
The good news, parents, is that you did in fact finish the job. You completed the task of giving your kid a childhood and getting them to this point in time. Well done. It’s now your teen’s job from here on out. There may be some flailing, there will certainly be anger toward you. Hold steady. Show your teen you have confidence in them. They will move forward.
Differences Between Pastoral and Clinical Counseling
There are many reasons why someone searches for a counselor. If you identify as a Christian, you may be wondering whether you should seek out clinical mental health counseling or pastoral counseling. Even though both can have similar results, there are differences in training, financial considerations, and counseling techniques and methods.
Training and Authority
One of the most apparent differences between pastoral and clinical counseling is the training of the counselor. Pastoral counselors usually receive some counseling training through their ministry education. They receive in-depth training in theology and Christian practices that can be helpful to folks who are suffering. Pastoral counselors may also have gone through an ordination program through which they are vetted by their denomination or church.
Clinical mental health counselors are required to attend an accredited Master’s level program. In addition, they attend supervision while getting experience so as to show their competence. Finally, clinical mental health counselors must pass an examination showing they understand the basic concepts of the field.
Most pastoral counselors are governed by a church or some sort of religious association. In this way, they offer their counsel with the authority given to them by the church or denomination. In contrast, clinical counselors often have licenses with the state in which they practice and are governed by the state and professional organizations. Clinical counselors then offer their counsel by the authority of the state.
Cost is another difference that is often considered when choosing a counselor. Pastoral counseling is often offered freely or for a donation as a part of the church ministry. Clinical counseling almost always comes at a professional cost, but may be paid for or reimbursed by insurance companies. Both clinical and pastoral counseling offices can offer sliding-scale price or pro bono rates, but this is dependent on the specific church or clinic.
Counseling Focus and Methods
Finally, the counseling methods that are used in pastoral and clinical counseling are different. In clinical counseling, a counselor is equipped to handle more serious mental health issues. For example, if someone is struggling with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, or panic disorder, he or she may seek clinical mental health counseling rather than a pastor. Pastoral counselors are equipped and trained to handle a wide variety of problems in living, such as relationship conflict, spirituality, life changes, and others like these.
Pastoral counselors will use methods that arise from their religious affiliation and belief system. They may pray with you or use scripture to encourage and teach important principles. Pastoral counselors may share personal experiences and have a personal relationship with you outside of the counseling setting. Clinical counselors are trained to assess, to plan, to use evidence-based treatments (like cognitive-behavioral therapy) in order to help their clients meet their goal. Clinical counseling is also a professional relationship so the boundaries of that relationship stay within that context.
Making the Choice
There is a lot to consider when choosing a counselor. It can especially feel overwhelming when you do not know whether to go through a church or a counseling clinic. The important thing is that you find the right fit for what you need given your circumstances. At Envision Counseling Clinic, every counselor is a Christian and can blend clinical counseling techniques with faith-informed values. Let us know if we can help!
We are here for you – call today to get on the schedule!