The Christian Church is searching for a true pathway to minister to persons in need without compromising her heritage or neglecting the advances of science. A healthy absorption of some aspects of psychotherapy with pastoral care should produce a type of pastoral counseling that does not neglect God or ignore man. Psychotherapy also can become more therapeutic if it will incorporate some elements of pastoral care.
There are essential differences between psychotherapy and pastoral care. Psychotherapy is the main therapy in psychiatry which is a branch of medical science. The psychotherapist seeks to influence psychically persons suffering from emotional disorder in order to effect a cure or remission of symptoms. He aims to promote physical and psychic health as these two may be interrelated. Psychiatric treatment uses the means of “catharsis, working through, re-education, the bringing about of emotional maturation, reassurance, and encouragement, suggestion, and manipulation of the environment” (George Frankl, “The Dilemma of Psychiatry Today,” Mental Hygiene, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, Oct. 1949, p. 554).
Pastoral care is essentially a ministry of the Word of God to the individual by an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Its aim is to bring people into a right relationship with God through fellowship with Christ and to establish people in that relationship. It hopes that mental health will be an indirect but real secondary benefit consequent upon the achievement of its primary spiritual goal. Pastoral care utilizes the means of the Gospel and prayer to convey a message of forgiveness of sins and encouragement in sanctification.
Another relative difference between psychotherapy and pastoral care is that the former is more concerned with ...1
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