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Many people are very religious. Their belief and faith are key parts of their life. Therefore, when they are experiencing difficulties in their life, they may turn to their pastor or other church leader to guide them. 

This makes sense, given that many religions engage in “confession,” in which a person admits to their sins. This is the theory behind pastoral counseling, which combines religious training with psychological thought. Pastors, priests, ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders are trained to provide advice and guidance while offering various counseling services.


Pastoral counseling is similar to other forms of therapy but what sets it apart is the incorporation of spirituality, faith, and theology. Pastoral counselors believe that those who are seeking help can benefit from this spiritual support, which can help with growth and healing. Pastoral counselors use various resources related to spirituality, such as prayer and scriptures, to help those in need resolve their problems and gain a spiritual connection to others.

Many people opt for pastoral counseling. Surveys showed that two-thirds of participants preferred a mental health professional who held spiritual beliefs and values. More than 80% of those seeking mental health treatment preferred counselors with values similar to their own, which is why many people seek help from religious leaders or counselors who share their faith. 

In addition, people might choose pastoral counseling for the following reasons:

  • They have a desire to approach mental health issues from a faith-based perspective.
  • They are not comfortable in a formal counseling setting.
  • They have concerns that secular counselors will make fun of their religious beliefs.
  • They have had negative experiences with secular mental health professionals in the past.
  • They are facing end-of-life issues.

The hardest part, without question, is taking that first step, making that first contact and scheduling that first appointment. It takes courage and strength and humility, but you and your family are worth it!


Pastoral counseling is a versatile mode of therapy, as it can provide specialized treatment as well as more general counseling needs. Pastoral counselors are uniquely positioned to offer a professional level of mental health treatment due to their graduate training, education, and ability to provide spiritual guidance.

Pastoral counseling can assist those who are looking for individual, family, relationship, or premarital counseling. It can also be helpful to those dealing with the following situations: 

  • Grief and loss
  • Chronic or terminal illness
  • Conflicts around spiritual beliefs
  • Mental health issues
  • Adjusting to mental health support 
  • Dealing with life after incarceration


It’s not uncommon for church members to confide in their church leaders, so it makes sense that they would be trained as counselors. But if your church won’t help you with your psychological and spiritual needs, Improving Lives Counseling Services may be able to assist you. We provide high quality counseling services in a professional environment with no judgment.

We have a variety of counseling services available to help you with emotional problems you may be facing. To schedule an appointment, fill out the online form or call (918) 268-2690. We offer flexible evening and weekend appointments.

Man in behavioral therapy