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Pastoral counseling is the integration of psychology and theology to aid individuals in psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth. The identity of the pastoral counselor is what differentiates pastoral counseling from other forms of counseling. Pastoral counselors are representatives of various faith traditions and communities. In pastoral counseling, spiritual growth may take precedence at times over psychological and emotional growth. The task of pastoral counselors is to facilitate clients’ openness to God’s kindness in their lives. In practice, the human effort of pastoral counselors is active along with the kindness of God. The openness of clients to the pastoral counseling process can lead to healthier psychological and spiritual functioning in their respective religious communities.

Historical Context

The origin of pastoral counseling can be traced to nearly 2,000 ...

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