1. Theology Seminary


Min 508 Pastoral Counseling


Dr. C. Phillip Johnson


Spring 2005


Delores E. Harrison





This paper will look at the many sides of pastoral counseling. It will attempt to


integrate ideas previously learned from other courses and disciplines.


There is a song that says, “Give me that old time religion, its good enough for me. It


was good for the Hebrew children and its good enough for me.” There was a time


when people came to church, sang, shouted, listen to loud music and loud preaching,


and went home. They had their feel good fix for the week. They were satisfied with the


church and the minister. The minister prayer over their babies when they were born,


and over their parents when they died. They were content.


Individuals entering into the field of ministry today must have the sophisticated tool


expected of a congregation who is no longer interested in the old time religion. Today


the pastor is expected to be a psychologist, a therapist, family counselor, drug


counselor, business and financial manager, entertainer, coach and conflict resolution


specialist. If he can preach and know the Bible, that is beneficial, but the other


assignments can and will determine the effectiveness of his or her ministry. Pastoral


counseling sessions with Dr. Johnson demonstrated where the rubber meets the road.



Pastoral counseling was a course, which required a review of all of the courses


completed in seminary. It also provided some insight in to the continual professional


preparation that is necessary in order for individuals considering entering into the


pastoral field must have. At the beginning of seminary, the question often came up as


to the relevance of some of the areas of studies required for the effectiveness of


preparation. Many courses were taken and completed. However, it was not until it was


necessary participate in an internship in pastoral care, that an understanding of how


each course and each professor had contributed to the demanding field of pastoral care


and counseling.


Dr. Johnson provided real world insight into the problems pastoral counselors would


be facing as they attempt to provide services to a demanding congregation. There had


been an uninformed tendency to view the ministry field as helping people to find a way


to God, and understand the good news of the Christian message. Ministry in the 21st


century is more complex. The individuals seeking to hear and receive the good news


message are coming with problems and concerns which the Bible only refers to as


some kind of illness which had to be “cast out” of some individuals. Since it is


impossible to wave a hand, and say to someone in distress, you are made whole, it is


necessary to look deeper into the causes of some of these distresses.


Pastoral counseling required a revisiting to courses in theories of personality,


psychology and sociology.


Pastoral counseling focused on individuals and families presenting themselves for


review and or concentration. The subjects were already in need of some kind of


attention. Who were these people? What were some of the factors, which may have


influenced their earlier lives? How do significant people perceive them? Here it was


necessary to look into some research on personalities. Some of the people who the


minister might encounter, or have in his or her congregation could demonstrate some


personality traits. In our pastoral counseling class, there were significant discussion


around the issues of addiction and or abuse. Since few individuals will come and


present themselves as someone with what may be identified as anti social behavior, it


was helpful to have some recognition of some types of behaviors which could suggests a


tendency to be problematic or distressing for others.


In working with members of the congregation, or in private counseling sessions, it is


necessary to select some tools to assist in evaluation and intake information. Some of


the leading personality theorist in the field of behavioral psychology provide theories,


which can be used as a framework with which to view individuals.


Pastoral counseling provided some insight with respect to what to do in some cases, but


the deeper questions were formulated in the Theories of Personality course.

This course reviewed some of the factors, which cause some people to appear to be


friendly, caring and sociable some of the time. It also looked at why some people may


appear angry and disagreeable. The course helped us to look at the various personalities of


some people and study how their daily disposition may have been influenced by events


in early part of their development, which could manifest itself in outlets of addictions


or different behaviors. The study of personality helped us to understand the social


constructs, which helped to make some people great to be around, while others seek out their need for


attention or some salve to sooth emotional pain. Theories of Personality as proposed by Freud, Jung, Adler,


Horney, Allport, Rogers , Skinner, and the social learning theories of Gestalt and others were also viewed.



Freud,[1] with focus on the conscious, preconscious, and the unconscious, as


represented by The Id; The Ego; The Superego, were very informative as was


information which he provided for coping with anxiety. Freud contributed significantly


to the field especially with his continued focus on the psych-sexual development of the


human being. Freud’s research listed the five stages of sexual development .


  1. Oral
  2. Anal
  3. Phallic
  4. Latency
  5. Genital

These theories continue to be in use, and have survived even through years of criticism from other theorist.


Review of the Literature in Personality Theory


Carl Jung[2] introduced the concept of introversion and extroversion to explain why some individuals tend to be more out going than others. Alfred Adler (1870-1937)[3] introduces the concept of inferiority complex and superiority complex. Adler suggest that the birth order of individuals were often determining factors in how they feel about themselves, and how they review their own world realities. Adler worked with families and his work provides the foundation upon which this writer will build the foundation of family counseling and spiritual work.  Gordon Allport (1897-1967) [4] believed that the individual is more a creature of the present than the past. Allport uses the trait approach. He believed that it was necessary to observe the traits which an individual demonstrates in order to better understand the individual. He believed that traits were an extension of an individual.


Karen Horney (1885-1952)[5]believed that the feminine psychology is based on lack of confidence and an overemphasis of love relationship, and has little to do with the anatomy of her sex organs. Horney, a woman brings the female thought to the field of personality research. She writes that, with respect to the Oedipus Complex, that it is not a sexual aggressive conflict between the sex of the child and his parent, but an confusion coming from disturbance in that relation concerning rejection, overprotection, and punishment, in the relationship with the mother and the fathers  aggression.


Carl Rogers[6] in his Person Centered Theory, suggest that when a client believes that the therapist has “unconditional positive regard” for them and a sincere understanding of their internal frame of reference, then a special relationship develops


and a change takes place. The therapist makes no value on the client, and the client accepts that his words will be accepted unconditionally. The Rogers approach would be difficult for this writer at this point of development.  There is a tendency to be judgmental in some areas of life.










confident. I had used the person-centered approach that Rodgers speaks of, and was


very concerned in all areas of this individuals life.


An outside person, would have observed that I had watched and supported,


behaviors which were hurtful to members of her family. I had watched and supported


decisions with respect to her own life. I provided the emotional support during her


difficult times. She was dependent on our supportive relationship. I must admit that


there was a great deal of satisfaction interacting with an individual who appeared to be accepting


your views in considerations they were making with their lives. It was not my style to


make any judgments on any of these decisions.


I am beginning to believe that this may not have been an effective position to take in a


relationship which should have been based on honesty. In truth I believed that most of


her decisions were self centered without regard to the effect those decisions would have


on other people in her relational world. We would discuss her positions, and I would


always be supportive of her, not the behavior or the decision.


Recently we have had a splitting of the ways. She has made some decisions which


could significantly hurt her family members. She has been listening to other


individuals who have persuade her to give them all of her funds and property. She has


placed herself in medical facilities which resulted in the turning over of large sums of


money. He doctor did not agree with her decision, as a results she changed doctors.


Her daughter did not agree with her decision, and as a result, she stripped her


daughter of property that she had planned to leave her. She sold the property and did not


share any of the resources from the sale of the property with her children, but elected


to give the funds to an outside individuals.


It was difficult for me to continue in the relationship. One of the reasons for my


concern, and back off, was the fact that she had asked that I be a legal witness to her


decision to turn over the house to her daughter. She expressed her dislike of her


children, and as a results of my support for the children, she began to express some


break in what she expected from me. Our relationship related on my supporting her


in all decisions, she decided to make without any expressed view that was


contrary to what she wanted to do.


I feel that I have failed her as a friend. I wonder how could I better serve her as a


counselor, when I was making judgments on some aspects of her behaviors.


This brings me to other concerns with respect to my effective work as a counselor. I am


concerned about my ability to take an objective view in my work with individuals with whom I


may have some personal interaction. If I were not personally involved with myfriend, then perhaps I could have been more effective. Perhaps, I could have given her  concerns with respect to her feelings about her children and her


family, and permit her to come to a decision which would not have resulted in so much


hurt to so many people. I will have to look further research in Rogers’s theories of


Person Centered Therapy.


However, this relationship has gone on for 30 years, and the factors that are


disturbing to me at this stage, were always visible, but were considered a “trait” and


representative of personality.


Adler would probably be the more effective method to use in a situation such as this.


Adler would have suggested that it was important to have the whole family in the


counseling sessions. Adler would suggest that perhaps some factors which may or may


not have occurred in the life of my friend could have contributed to this self-centered


personality that my friend had developed. She was the second oldest girl born into a


large family. Her mother had died early in her life. Her father re married to an


insensitive woman who resented the children, and went out of her way to make the


lives of the children miserable. I was impressed with the life story that my friend told


about her difficult early childhood. I was impressed by the fact that regardless of the


fact that she had experienced a difficult time during her formative years, she was able


to marry, have children of her own, and have a professional career as a teacher.


It is only after taking courses with Dr. Barrett in the field of family counseling, that I


am able to look back and see that my friend was not very affectionate with her own


children. I can see now and understand why she was having considerable difficulty


relating to the young children in her charge during her years as a kindergarten


teacher. I was happy to write most of her lesson plans, and design activities which












Case Study # 2


A minister of a local church indicated a need for pastoral counseling. He


was experiencing a great deal of distress. The pastor is a young man in his 7th year as


pastor in an upper middle class white suburban neighborhood. Crime is low, and most


of the congregation of the church are seniors. A few years ago, a few young families


moved into the neighborhood and joined the church. The young families are peoples


of color, and the minister is a member of a minority group. He therefore was


delighted to receive the new addition to the congregation. The pastor was not prepared


for the results of what can happen when expectations are not met, and pastors try to


mix counseling with friendships. Clinebell[7] suggest that a pastor should be


sensitive to sign of distress, and use them as potential counseling opportunities. I


noticed the individual was demonstrating signs of depression. Long-term interaction




friendship with the individual suggested that a significant amount of weight had be lost


in a short period. It was apparent that the individual considered me as a


confident and someone with who he was safe to express some concerns. It was clear


that some conflict was taking place in the church in which the individual was serving


as pastor. The conflict, as reported to me, centered around a relationship that the


pastor had with a member of the congregation. The pastor being a caring person, had


open his home and his family to assist this member during times of crises. The two


families became very close. The pastor was requested to enter into a business


arrangement with the member to do some repair work on the church. The pastor


became suspicious of the financial arrangements, and informed the member that the


church could not become involved in the arrangements. The member took this refusal


of assistance as an attack on the friendship.



Bi Polar Personality Revealed


The member, which the pastor later


learned, had a history of emotional disturbance, and this rejection triggered emotional


attacks against the pastor in the church. The pastor became very distressed because he


had reached out to help the individual and his family, and now it appears that the


individual had forgotten about all the pastor and his family had done for him. The


pastor was very hurt, and had a great deal of difficulty accepting the idea that he had


provided pastoral counseling for this individual, but he had made the mistake of bring


the individual whom he was helping into his home and personal emotional circle.



The Relationship Turns Dangerous



Danger resulted when the individual decided to try to destroy the pastor and his


ministry and attempt to have the pastor removed from the church. I suggested to the


pastor that he remember that the member was a patient, and as a results of becoming


too close to the patient, some of the patient’s spiritual and emotional illness was


affecting him. The pastor continued to believe that he had failed the individual, and


should do all that he could to help him. I suggested that it was important to know who


you can and cannot help, and when to refer clients out to other health care




Pastoral counseling can include some dangers in current climates. The pastor had


confused his pastoral duties, with his social work profession. The pastor as a trained


social worker, had attracted the client into his other field of work. Pastoral care


suggest that there is a caring for individuals, and may mistakenly suggest that the


pastor sacrifice all for his members. In today’s society of legal problems, it is necessary


that the pastor and the church protect themselves from legal responsibilities resulting


from social work with individuals with personality concerns and emotional needs that


are outside of the responsibility of the pastor.


Here again it is necessary to return to Theories of Personality, and seek to understand


how we bring our own personality needs into pastoral counseling, and how the


different theorist can assist with this understanding.


Adler developed a theory of personality that was different from Freud’s idea of the


individual. Adler bring back the idea of individuals seeking to better themselves by


helping others. He restored the idea of self worth of the individuals which


psychoanalysis had almost destroyed. Adler offers ideas of humans and their behaviors


which are more satisfying and more hopeful and respectful to the human conditions.


I am interested in following in this path, and since my personality and traits tend


towards building up the individuals and respecting them where they are, the Adlerian


approach would be the approach that I would select in my practice and religious




It is my belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and as such, we are


capable of outstand things that we may not be aware of at this time. I also have learned


that the personality which draws me to the Adlerian approach, may be the results of my


own history.


Dr. Johnson[8] suggest that it is important to have a field of separation between yourself


and the client. It is important not to take on the illness of the client, or feel responsible


for the illness or the cure. He further suggest that it is important to know when to refer


clients. Each pastor should have a list of support services available to assist with any


services rendered. There maybe individuals who present themselves for help, who may


not benefit from Christian counseling.


Integrating theory with practice, Johnson (2005) provided practical guides for


becoming effective counselors. He suggest that the Humanist Manifesto[9] can be


helpful in pastoral counseling. It provides tools for dealing with people on all levels.


The pastor may be called upon to assist people who may or may not be Christian. He


suggest that pastoral counseling is psychotherapy dealing with people in education, family and social situations. What the schools counselors fail to do and the guidance


counselors could not do, the church is expected to do.


Pastors within the church are expected to deal with all social and psychological issues.


Pastors must at times become a referral agent, and prepare for themselves a desk


reference for their geographical region. Government agencies welcome the referrals


since their funding depends on the number of clients they serve. Johnson suggest that


pastors develop close and positive relations with directors and or assistant directors of


these agencies, in order that they are familiar with you and your service, if and when


an emergency need arises.


Clinebell[10] states that the heart of pastoral care is helping the individual to achieve


spiritual wholeness.


   As you ought not attempt to cure the eyes without the head

Or the head without the body, neither ought you attempt to cure the body without the soul…for the part can never be well unless the whole is well…And therefore, if the head and body are to be well, you must begin to cure the soul.



Johnson suggests that the safety and security should be the prime concern. You should


not let your religious beliefs cause the life of anyone. If it is suggested that an


individual is in physical harm in a marital situation, do not think first about keeping


the unit together. Lives have been lost because pastors have advised individuals to stay


in abusive situations for the sake of scripture obedience. If someone is going to destroy


the essence of your soul, you should walk away.


Johnson states that the secular world is demanding that people take a larger role in


servicing society. States are requiring that pastors obtain licenses before providing


services. He further suggest that seminary students should be required to complete


clinical pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Pastoral counseling is on the cutting edge


of behavioral counseling. Many pastors do not understand what Sheparding is. It is


much broader than pastoral ministry. The law requires that individuals be certified in


pastoral counseling. Many insurance companies are demanding that churches have


special licenses and coverage in order to do some programs. Specifically if the


churches plan to work with the government.


The secular world controls the financing, and they want to know that individuals


involved in the programs have specific competencies. Johnson suggest that spiritual


leaders have not prepared themselves for the challenges of the 21st century.


Johnson states that when a therapist is dealing with certain issues, he or she is dealing


with the whole family. When issues relating to alcohol or drugs are involved, you are


dealing with the whole family.


With respect to issues of abuse, research suggest that people who grow up in abusive


families tend to become abusive. There are individuals who relate love making with


abuse. In some cases, according to Johnson, sexual abuse can be genetic. He further


states that it is important and necessary to obtain the permission of individuals who


may come to you to pray for them. Do not pray for anyone without first securing their


permission. It is wise to enter into private pray with yourself and for yourself before


entering into some situations. The pastor and or the counselor should arm himself or herself with the covering of prayer before encountering problematic situations. Seminary has provided an opportunity to receive training in issues to be faced in the religious community. We learn how to preach and how to teach. It is however in the           


course relating to human relations that we learn how to reach. Barrett has provided a


foundation for understanding the family as a unit, and the individuals in the family.


He has helped us to understand the complex interactions between husband and wife,


and how to use spirituality to help them realize their better selves.



Dr. Barrett, in a course relating to Boundaries in a Marriage, provided us with the


information with which to assist individuals before marriage, and help in conflict


relations in a marriage. His also provided some understanding of the different


personality variables which human being bring into any relationship.


The courses taught by Professor Barrett [12]continues to provide the academic tools


necessary for the development of effective ministers in the field of Christian service.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Barrett in his demonstration of a  therapist. When he speaks, it is easy to see the spirit of the Lord in all of his  presentations. His voice is soft and he project the attitudes and behaviors which he wants his students to have in their spiritual work. Dr. Barrett goes on to describe the  settings for effective counseling. He describes the setting when counseling should take


place. Dr. Barrett provides valuable insight on how to use the effective techniques


which we have studied. He demonstrates the Rodgers Person Centered Approach,


where we learned how to enter into a relationship with the client, and help the clients


to believe that for that moment and that time that we were completely at one with them.


Barrett assisted us with understanding how to work with families. The techniques


which he demonstrated were very effective. The idea of not taking side by interviewing


individuals away from their partners were very effective. He demonstrated for us


effective phone techniques, and what to say or not to say during phone intake. Most


effective was the information provided with respect to the personal appearance of the


individuals who would be involved in counseling. Counseling is a profession, and as


such the individuals involved should dress and carry themselves in a professional




Dr. Johnson has provided up to date survival skills for effective counseling. The pastor


may have the best intentions in the world, but if he is not aware of the dangers and


pitfalls of dealing with human being who have a meaning , purpose and even agendas


outside of the church, serious consequences could result. The pastor who called on me


for counseling could have benefited from Dr. Johnson’s sessions. Perhaps he would


not be having the stress that he is experiencing his he had been made aware of how to


protect yourself in some situations. While he was praying, the individual who he was


praying for and trying to help, was trying to hurt him. Dr. Johnson technique of watch


as well as pray, and pray with your eyes open can have positive results in the


relationship building that is necessary for effective counseling. Clinebell was good, and


Barrett was effective. Johnson however, provided a wake up call about what pastoral


counseling is all about. Johnson brings the real world into the classroom. He provided


the students with the reality therapy that was needed if we are to become effective


pastoral counselors.


Johnson also provided information with respect to how the pastoral counseling profession can have significant means of financial achievement. With the information


provided, it is possible for pastoral counseling to be a win/win situation.   May God


bless you Dr. Johnson and may you continue to prepare the religious leaders of the


world. You have so much to give, I am privilege to have been one of the individuals


who experienced your depth of knowledge.




This paper provided information received in the course on pastoral counseling. It also included research on personality theories as it relates to understanding the individuals under counseling. It also included two case studies where pastor counseling and or counseling were used .

[1] Calvin S. Hall, Gardner Lindzey, Theories of Personality,John Wiley & Sons, New York. . Sigmund Freud, born May 6, 1856. Freud’s interest in neurology caused him to specialize in the treatment of nervous disorders.

[2] Calvin S. Hall, Gardner Lindzey, Theories of Personality, John Wiley & Sons, New York , Chichesten, Brisbane, Toronto, Singapore.

[3] ibid

[4] http://webusers.xula.edu/schulte/Theories of Personality/outlines.htm 10/3/2004

[5] Calvin S. Hall, Gardner Lindzey, Theories of Personality, Wiley & Sons, New York

[6] ibid

[7] Howard Clinebell, Basic Types of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tenn.

[8] Dr. C. Phillip Johnson, Th.D., D. Min, Pastoral Care & Counseling, U. Theology Seminary, New York, Spring 2005

[9] Humanist Manifesto, American Humanist Association, 1777 T. Street NW, DC

[10] Howard Clinebell, Basic Types of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Abidgon Press, Abigon, Tenn

[11] “Charmides,” The Dialogue of Plato., Benjamin Jowett ( New York: Random House, 1937

[12] Dr. Carlton Barrett, Theories of Personality, U. Theology Seminary, New York. Dr. Barrett is a Professional Therapist, he has devoted his life to developing programs that can assist individuals and families live a more productive life. Dr. Barrett has developed many community-based centers and family workshops.

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