Benner’s take on pastoral counseling and Hawkins’ model are quite similar but differ in my opinion with Hawkins' more holistic approach to pastoral counseling than Benner’s. In Hawkins' assessment the net is cast wider with regards to the issues that plague a care-seeker and their whole, overall well-being. In the slides, the example is used of a counselee who is feeling depressed and after eliminating the spiritually based sources of depression, the counselor is able to hone in on the fact that the recipient of spiritual direction is not taking care of their physical body as they should, which is leading to the feeling of depression.
Thanks for your post. Your thoughts are well received. This week I had a discussion with a long time friend who is a pastor and recently took this course. We discussed Benner’s take on pastoral counseling and the focus quickly turned to how Brenner is emphatic on the issue that there be a maximum of five sessions and no more. We wondered how can a pastor truly get to know someone and their spiritual needs in such a short period of time. After much discussion we came to the conclusion that we have to remember what pastoral counseling is. It is not a time where you try to solve a person’s every problem, but a time where you try to guide that person down a spiritual road and that spiritual counseling should be able to get the person on the right track. Anymore than five session and that person starts to become dependent on the pastor in a way in which they should truly be dependant on God.
The consensus that we agreed upon is that if there were deeper issues such as addiction, OCD or other mental disorders than truly that would probably be beyond our expertise and should be outsourced to an expert. While I believe that all of those issues do have spiritual answers, it is like teaching the hungry man about Christ. Yes, he needs Christ and needs to know that Christ will fulfill his needs but to be receptive...