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Understanding Pastoral Counseling

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Understanding Pastoral Counseling

SKU# 9780826130051


  • Elizabeth A. Maynard PhD
  • Jill L. Snodgrass PhD
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Professors Snodgrass and Maynard have done their field a service in bringing together all that is here. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors now has a splendid contemporary text to present themselves to other fields whose members may yet wonder 'What has religion (or spirituality) or pastoral counseling have to do with the healing arts?' There was in a past era the critique and complaint that the pastoral care and counseling field did not have a literature and history that allowed it to stand as intellectually serious colleagues with others in more traditional theological disciplines. Now they have an answer in this book.

-- Curtis W. Hart, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, Journal of Religion and Health

This book is written in the active voice. It does not desire to define pastoral counseling but offers real time examples that illustrate the breadth, depth and vibrancy of practitioners in various contexts of work and practice. It is clear the authors are engaged in their vocation and it engages them. Upon reading this book I trust that you will feel similarly about your work."

óDouglas M. Ronsheim, D.Min., Executive Director, American Association of Pastoral Counselors

"Understanding Pastoral Counseling is the new benchmark book in the field. Not only does this serious, practical, and fascinating work provide great insight into appreciating pastoral counseling as it is but it also, through a great diversity of authors and topics, stimulates us to dream where the field may go in the future. It is truly a tour de force."

óRobert J. Wicks, PsyD, Author, The Resilient Clinician and The Inner Life of the Counselor

"This is a welcomed, major addition to our literature on pastoral counseling that will be useful in seminary and clinical classrooms alike. Understanding Pastoral Counseling honors the history of pastoral counseling in the U.S. while it explores contemporary diverse models and practices in and beyond the U.S. With a wide range of accomplished contributors, this book celebrates the religious and cultural plurality of contemporary pastoral and spiritual care."

óNancy J. Ramsay, PhD, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care, Brite Divinity School

What are the roles, functions, and identities of pastoral counselors today? What paradigms shape their understanding of the needs of others? How can pastoral counselors serve the needs of diverse individuals in both religious and secular environments? This foundational text reflects the continued and unfolding work of pastoral counseling in both clinical and traditional ministry settings. It addresses key issues in the history, current practices, and future directions of pastoral counseling and its place among allied helping professions. Written to incorporate current changes in the roles of pastoral counselors and models of training beyond the traditional seminary, the book builds on themes of pastoral counseling as a distinct way of being in the world, understanding client concerns and experiences, and intervening to promote the health and growth of clients.

The text provides a foundational overview of the roles and functions of the modern pastoral counselor. It discusses spiritual perspectives on the issues that bring individuals to seek counseling and integrates them with the perspectives of allied mental health professions. The tools and methods pastoral counselors can employ for spiritual assessment are presented, and the book describes common spiritual and theological themesóboth implicit and explicitóthat arise in pastoral counseling. Included are chapters examining Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Native American, and Buddhist approaches to counseling as well as counseling individuals with diverse sexual identities. The book reflects the increasing need for pastoral counselors to serve effectively in a multicultural society, including service to individuals who are not affiliated with a specific religious denomination. The book also considers the emerging realities of distance counseling and integrated health care systems as current issues in the field.


  • Presents a contemporary approach to how pastoral counselors function as mental health professionals and spiritual leaders
  • Serves as a state-of-the-art foundational text for pastoral counseling education
  • Describes assessments and interventions that are shared with allied mental health professionals and those that are unique to pastoral counseling
  • Provides an ecumenical and interfaith approach for a multicultural society, including individuals with diverse sexual identities
  • Addresses counseling with individuals who do not affiliate with a specific faith tradition
  • Includes Instructor's Guide and online Student Resources to enhance teaching and learning

Product Details 

  • Publication Date June 09, 2015
  • Page Count 512
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826130051
  • EISBN 9780826130068

About The Author(s) 

Elizabeth A. Maynard, Ph.D., is associate professor and chair of Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She is trained and licensed as a clinical psychologist and has focused her work on adult clients. Her emphasis in research, training, and clinical work is on the intersection of sexuality and religion/spirituality. Dr. Maynard has a further interest in the intersection of religion and coping, particularly the use of faith to cope with prejudice. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Mental Health, Religion & Culture, American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. She recently edited Self-Renewal Themes in Psychotherapy: A Guide for Clinicians (2014, Wiley) and a special edition of the journal Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion on religion, spirituality and sexuality.

Jill L. Snodgrass, Ph.D.,

is assistant professor of pastoral counseling at Loyola University Maryland. She is a certified pastoral counselor, with Fellow standing in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Her research interests include spiritual care and counseling with traditionally marginalized populations, with specific emphasis on individuals and families experiencing homelessness and women transitioning from incarceration. From 2008-2011, Dr. Snodgrass was the associate director of the Clinebell Institute for Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy in Claremont, California. She is President of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion, Vice Chair of the Atlantic Region in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology. In addition to her work as a researcher and minister, Dr. Snodgrass has served as a pastoral counselor in churches, shelters, transitional housing facilities, and community centers. She has published articles in such peer-reviewed publications as Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, Pastoral Psychology, and Journal of Pastoral Theology.

Table of Contents 



Elizabeth A. Maynard and Jill L. Snodgrass


1. Pastoral Counseling: A Discipline of Unity Amid Diversity

Jill L. Snodgrass

2. Pastoral Counseling’s History

Loren Townsend


3. Pastoral Counselors: Mental Health Professionals

Elizabeth A. Maynard and Rodney Parker


4. The Human Condition: Pastoral Perspectives

Jesse Fox, Daniel Gutierrez, Jim Coffield, and Bill Moulder

5. The Nature and Function of Suffering

Lawrence M. LeNoir

6. The Challenges of Being Bilingual: Methods of Integrating Psychological and Religious Studies

Carrie Doehring

7. To Diagnose or Not to Diagnose: Pastoral Counseling Distinctives in Conceptualizing and Engaging Human Distress

Thomas E. Rodgerson

8. Religious and Spiritual Assessment in Pastoral Counseling

Paul J. Deal and Gina Magyar-Russell

9. Responding to Explicit and Implicit Spiritual Content in Pastoral Counseling

Jill L. Snodgrass and Konrad Noronha

10. Cross-Cultural Counseling: The Importance of Encountering the Liminal Space

Kari A. O’Grady, Kenneth White, and Heidi Schreiber-Pan


11. Common Ground: Pastoral Counseling and Allied Professional Interventions

Timothy S. Hanna

12. Set Apart: The Distinctiveness of Pastoral Counseling Interventions

Christina Jones Davis

13. Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction

Joseph A. Stewart-Sicking


14. Religious Location and Counseling: Engaging Diversity and Difference in Views of Religion

Kathleen J. Greider

15. Earning Closeness With Our Maker: A Torah-Based Approach to Counseling

Michael Lockman

16. Reframing Pastoral Counseling: Toward Developing a Model of Pastoral Care Within Muslim Communities

Shahnaz Savani

17. Kalamitra: A Buddhist Approach to Pastoral Counseling

Stephen Clarke

18. Hindu Approaches to Pastoral Counseling

Sharanya Udipi

19. Native American Spiritualities and Pastoral Counseling

Michael T. Garrett, Cyrus Williams, Russ Curtis, Iain Tucker Brown, Tarrell Awe Agahe Portman, and Mark Parrish

20. Pastoral Counseling and Queer Identities

Jason Hays


21. Referral, Consultation, and Collaboration

Elizabeth Denham Thompson

22. Shepherding the Flock: Supervising Pastoral Counselors in Training

Danielle LaSure-Bryant

23. Understanding Pastoral Counseling Research

Joanne L. Miller

24. Pastoral Counseling at a Distance

Serena A. Flores and Elizabeth A. Maynard

25. Childhood Studies and Pastoral Counseling

Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore


26. Futures of a Past: From Within a More Traditional Pastoral Counseling Model

Joretta L. Marshall

27. Integrative Psychotherapy Training Program: A Department of Spiritual Care and Education

James W. Pruett and F. Morgan Enright

28. Perspectives From Beyond the Field: Psychology and Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy

L. Mickey Fenzel

Elizabeth A. Maynard and Jill L. Snodgrass