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 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 knows the Bible, then that is beneficial, but there are other assignments, which can and will determine the effectiveness of his or her ministry. Pastoral counseling sessions is often where the rubber meets the road. Pastoral counseling provided some insight in to the continual professional preparation that is necessary for individuals considering entering into the pastoral field. The question often came up as to the relevance of some of the areas of studies required for the effectiveness of preparation.

The demanding field of pastoral care and counseling provides real world insight into the problems pastors would be facing as they attempt to provide services to a demanding congregation. There had been a tendency to view the ministry field as helping people to find a way to God, and understand the good news of the Christian message, however, ministry in the 21stcentury is more complex. Individuals seeking to hear and receive the good news message are coming with problems and concerns- the Bible only refers to as some kind of illness, which had to be “cast out” of some individuals, the question of what is the responsibility of the pastor. 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 was 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 suggest 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 provides 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 and also looked at why some people may appear angry and disagreeable some of the time.

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 reviewed. Freud,[1] with his 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 which 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 suggests 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 judgment 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.


[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] of Personality/outlines.htm 10/3/2004

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

[6] ibid

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