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Pastoral Counselling Units

Introduction to Pastoral Counselling

Paul uses the metaphor of a body to describe the church. Pastoral counselling represents the core actions we undertake to keep the church healthy. The church is only as well as its individual members and pastoral counselling equips us to engage meaningfully with people in the light of the message of the gospel. There is nothing more exciting than to see people reconstruct their broken lives in the light of the message of the gospel. The church is an open society who welcomes the broken, the sick and the disheartened. Pastoral counselling provides students with some key insights to equip them to develop relationships which are supportive, graciously confronting and hopeful. Counsellors are not immune to the brokenness of the world and the course will help them to evaluate their own lives in the light of the gospel.

Pastoral Counselling Process

In this unit students will be embarking on practical counselling. Students will be required to identify specific problems through observation and inter-action. From this they will develop their own case studies and specific interventionist strategies. They will implement some of these strategies and evaluate the results of their counselling. Students should be able to identify, develop and use a variety of stimulus material for group counselling and discussion. Students should be able to construct counselling sessions on some of these topics through role-play..

Pastoral Counselling in Context

We exist to be God’s caring community in the world. This does not come naturally and easily to the church, schools, youth groups etc. It can easily become a hard and cold place where people can easily get hurt. The quality of care is one of the primary signs by which the spirituality of the church, group or school can be measured. Pastoral Counseling is not the only task of the pastor or leader in any context: their task is also to create the environment in which care can effectively take place. This unit will not only help the student to develop techniques for pastoral care in his/her personal ministry but will also help him/her to develop ways of training others to render such care in whatever context they find themselves.

Marriage and Family

This unit deals with human sexuality, marriage and family life. Human sexuality sets us apart from animals. It is exactly in the domain of sexuality that the dignity of humanity is the most clearly expressed. Our sexuality calls us beyond ourselves to a complete and intimate relationship with another human being. And it is to an ‘other’ who is radically different from ourselves that we are called. The course also deals with a wide variety of aspects that influence our relationships and marriage such. The first one of these is communication – how to disagree and negotiate with each other without undermining the relationship. We also look at children within the context of the family and how we are all intrinsically shaped by our families and family relationships. Marriage and family issues present an ideal opportunity for us to show how the gospel can affect our lives for the good. Our marriages and family relationships can become showcases of the grace of God. It does not mean that we have to present ourselves as ‘getting it right’ in our marriages and families. But we can meet the world as people who have tasted something very good and thus cannot settle for anything less. The hope that we can offer people in the light of our understanding of God’s vision for our marriages and families can change their lives forever.

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