Pastoral care and counseling

August 22nd, 2008

Over the years I have had a number of people come to me when they are going through a difficult time. While I am not a trained counselor, there are certain things that I have found I can do just by being there and listening. It is interesting that how most people who have come to me have just needed one or more of the following three things.

1. Suggestion – Sometimes they just need an outside opinion on an issue or needed to run something by me. Generally all they need is a suggestion of a few options they could take in a situation. Sometimes the things I suggest might not necessarily be overly spiritual, but it helps them in the decision making process and helps them to move forward.

2. Cathartic – Sometimes people who come my way just need to get things off their chest. I have found that most of us when we are going through a rough time just need to download our thoughts to someone. Most of the time their head is full and they just need to empty and in a sense “restart” their computer. Speaking to someone outside the situation can help to do this.

3. Reassurance – Sometimes the people who come to me need to just be reassured that things will be ok. In the midst of a painful time it is often hard to see when it will end and things might return to “normal”. Reassuring people that God is in control and that God is with them helps a great deal. It is also great if you have personally been through the situation and you can share how things have worked out for you.

Regardless of whether you are a trained Pastor or a counselor sometimes people just need someone to be there and listen. One or more of the above things can really make a difference to people in short term crisis and can help them to move forward in faith and in the hope that things will get better.