Look at different models of christian counseling, pastoral care, and coaching... with special attention to the perspectives regarding goal (repair versus growth) and relationship between theology and psychology.
Models of Christian
and Pastoral Care
By Robert H. Munson, ThD
Celia P. Munson, M.Div., BCPC
Bukal Life Care, 2014
It is Kind of Confusing...
There are so many different terms for the care
that may be provided for Christians in need.
Some methods “claim” they are Christian while
they claim others are “not”
Some methods “claim” to be Biblical while they
claim others are “not”
THERE IS NO WAY WE WILL FIGURE THIS ALL
OUT IN A COUPLE OF HOURS... BUT
HOPEFULLY WE CAN GET A START ON
UNDERSTANDING SOME OF THIS.
STRATEGY FOR THIS PRESENTATION
Divide PASTORAL CARE
into two categories:
models of Christian
COUNSELING (More on
and models of Christian
COACHING (more on
What is Pastoral Care?
• Pastor: A Latin word meaning “shepherd”
• Related to pastus meaning “feeding”
• A shepherd sees to the feeding, well being, and
growth of the flock
– Pastoral Care: To be concerned for and give watchful
attention (feeding, well being, and growth) for the
“flock.” (See Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34)
– Also known as pastoral counseling, pastoral
psychology, and spiritual care.
– Gregory the Great, Cyprian,Tertullian, John
Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Bonaventure,
Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Bucer,
More, Herbert, Burnet, Baxter, etc.
Even though pastoral care refers to the care
provided by the pastor/shepherd for his/her
flock (church or parish family), some forms of
care are not considered part of pastoral care.
Ministry areas that are not classically considered
pastoral care include evangelism, preaching,
sacraments, and social ministry.
<Note: Pastoral Care is NOT care for one's pastor.>
Types of Historical Pastoral Care
Historically speaking, certain tasks of the pastor/ presbyter/
bishop were seen as “pastoral care” and some not. Ones that
are identified as:
• Seward Hiltner (1958). Healing, Guiding, Sustaining
• Clebsch and Jaeckle (1964). Healing, Guiding, Sustaining,
• Howard Clinebell (1966). Healing, Guiding, Sustaining,
• Andrew Lester (1995). Healing, Guiding, Sustaining,
• Emmanuel Lartey (2003). Healing, Guiding, Sustaining,
Reconciling, Nurturing, Liberating, Empowering.
The Scope of Pastoral Care
Focusing on the four types
of pastoral care of
Clebsch and Jaekle,
“Sustaining” is seen as
most typifying what is
thought of as Primary
Pastoral Care, and
Reconciling as most
Philosophy of Primary Pastoral Care
– Client Oriented. The client defines the
needs, desires, and agenda. Less on
talking and directing. More on listening
(Ministry of Presence. Ministry of
– Support and Comfort-Focused. Not
focused on changing the client, in belief
or action. TRY to understand and
Philosophy of Pastoral Care
Pastoral Care can be divided into two broad
Historical Pastoral Care: Rooted in the Church
with its roles defined in the first 1900 years of the
church. Tends to be more theological and
historical in its methods.
Clinical Pastoral Care: Rooted in the 20th
Incorporates more from the social sciences,
particularly psychology and sociology.
Clinical Pastoral Care
Rev.Anton Boisen, father of the
Clinical Pastoral Education/
Training movement in the 1920s.
He saw the need for pastoral care
in mental hospitals after being a
patient there himself. He placed
theological students in supervised
contact with patients in mental
He gave strong emphasis on the role
of theology in pastoral care.
FAITH and MENTAL HEALTH--
THEOLOGY and PSYCHOLOGY
Clinical Pastoral Care
Its focus has been in chaplaincy environments:
hospitals, jails, hospices, atbp. More recently,
there has been growing focus in churches,
Clinical Pastoral Care often tends to focus
more on psychological principles than
theological principles... but it depends on the
What About Spiritual Care?
Some people choose to use the term “Spiritual
Care” rather than “Pastoral Care.” For them it
may emphasize more the focus of care in terms
of meaning and ethics. It may also be seen as
On the other hand, “Pastoral Care” has a long
history, is tied to a more useful metaphor (the
shepherd), and suggests a more holistic view of
In the end, one can use the term one prefers.
Many of the forms of counseling can be
understood in terms of four quadrants.
1. They may be identified in whether they focus
more on theology or more on psychology.
2. They may be identified in whether they seek to
integrate theology and psychology more, or
tend to keep the two separate.
<Note: Descriptions of the four major models here are based
generally on Timothy Keller's article “Four Models of
Counseling in Pastoral Ministry”>
Levels of Explanation Model
Basic premise: Psychology deals with psychological
and natural problems in human behavior and
relationships. The Bible looks at spiritual problems
and our relationship with God. As such they are
separate disciplines that deal with unrelated
It may separate (theology for spiritual issues,
psychology for psychoemotional issues, etc.) or
may bring in both perspectivally (each provide an
important viewpoint, but don't really inform each
Levels of Explanation Model
“The rich fabric of the total picture given to us in
Scripture brings to mind the similarly rich
complexity of the total picture of human nature
given to us through the scientific endeavor today.
Both emphasize the complexity of human nature,
the need to understand and study it from many
diverse aspects or perspectives, and the need to
recognize that human nature is a unity – a unity
now in this present life and, by the grace of God,
a unity in the life to come.” -David Myers and
Basic premise: Psychology and biblical theology are
both looking at the same thing—human nature. Two
different tools to study human beings, “general
revelation” and “special revelation.” They give
priority to the Bible (foundational role) when there is
conflict, but may give science priority in common
Built off of the concept, “The Unity of Truth.” That is, “All
truth is God's truth.” Thus, if psychological principles
are not seen to be contradictory to God's Word, one
should be open to the possibility that they are true.
In integrating the two, there is (1) the possibility for
theology to challenge the social sciences, and (2)
allow the social sciences to challenge our theology.
(Some may be bothered by this second part until one
realizes that this is not about challenging the Bible, but
rather challenging our contextualized interpretation of
Christian Psychology Model
Basic premise: The Bible/Theology critiques
psychology at a foundational level.
Foundationally, theology dominates, but
psychological techniques may be brought in
as part of the therapy. In practice, tends to
be counselor driven rather than theory-
Christian Psychology Model
“For the Christian psychologist, integration
involves a recognition of the ultimate
authority of the Bible, a willingness to learn
what God has allowed humans to discover
through psychology and other fields of
knowledge, and a desire to determine how
both scriptural truths and psychological data
can enable us better to understand and help
people.” -Gary R. Collins
Integrationist and Christian Psychology
They may seem quite similar philosophically... and
However, one will tend to take a more rigorously
psychological approach, while the other may
tend to use psychological tools eclectically.
Both however, would generally see God's
revelation as canon, or the standard by which
care is to be grounded upon.
Biblical (Nouthetic) Counseling Model
Basic premise: A high level of distrust of
modern psychology and psychological
methodology. Psychological insights should
be used with extreme caution. The older
approach, formulated by Jay Adams, put
great emphasis on behavioral change and
the adoption of patterns of biblical living.
Much emphasis on sin, repentance, and
Biblical (Nouthetic) Counseling Model
“Nouthetic Counseling helps by confronting sin,
praying for encouraging repentance, renewing
the mind, identifying idols, pointing them to the
sufficient Scriptures. Lastly, Nouthetic
counseling helps to battle against the current
Christian counseling movement that seeks to
rename sin, omit sorrow/repentance, remain
man-centered and felt needs oriented.”
What About Pastoral Care?
The disciplines called Pastoral Care overlap with
the categories of Christian Counseling.
Historical Pastoral Care tends to line up with the
Christian Psychology quadrant as primacy is
placed on theology, although secular sciences
were not devalued.
Clinical Pastoral Care tends to line up more with
the Integrationist quadrant, as there is a
stronger emphasis on the social sciences.
Which One is Best?
Often it depends on the problem. Consider SIN for a
If the problem is “Sin I have done,” then Biblical
Counseling may be best.
If the problem is “Sin done unto me,” then the
Integrationist or Christian Psychology may be
If the problem is more related to “Living in a Sin-
damaged world,” such as organic or deep seated
psychopathologies, Integrationist or Levels of
Explanation, may assist better.
Coaching. How is it different from
In coaching, there is commonly not the presumption of
“illness” in the client/coachee. Counseling more about
healing... coaching more about growth. Coaching is
commonly more directive than counseling.
Counseling often more past oriented... coaching more
present and future. Counseling is more on feeling...
coaching is more on results.
Coaching is... “the art and practice of guiding a person
or group from where they are to a greater
competence and fulfillment they desire.” -Gary R.
God, through the Holy Spirit, initiates change, the
coachee discovers change through action,
experience and motivation. Coaches help facilitate
Types include: Mentoring, Discipling (group /
intentional one-on-one), Christian Life Coaching,
Discipling versus Mentoring
It should be noted that Jesus may, in today's language,
be seen as more of a mentor than a discipler.
Models Paul with Timothy Barnabas and John Mark
Type of role Teaching new spiritual truths Caring for and helping a person in all
aspects of life.
Discipler's agenda (spiritual
Protege's agenda (goals/problems)
Training? Training and mastery of
Practical life experience relevant to the
Chemistry? Respect Repect and personal chemistry
To mature spiritually, here is what
you need to know, do, or become
How can I help you get where you are
Christian Life Coaching
Think of it like Mentoring... except perhaps
more systematized, focused, and time-bound.
The life coach helps the coachee identify areas
of growth (spiritual, behavioral, or otherwise),
comes up (mutually) with strategies and
concrete plans/steps to grow, and then assists
the coachee with accountability, evaluation, and
Spiritual Direction is quite a bit like Christian Life
Coaching. However, its scope is generally more
narrow as it focuses on developing a deeper
relationship with God.
While the work that spiritual directors do with
their directees vary... much of the work tends to
be in areas of prayer, meditation, and ritual.
What to Use?
I Relationship with God, prayer and prayer problems,
spiritual practices, discernment regarding spiritual
experiences, spiritual emergencies
II Issues involving the meaning and purpose of life,
discernment regarding major life decisions, issues
III Moral/ethical issues involving oneself; moral and/or
ethical issues involving relationships; moral and/or
ethical issues involving work or social justice
IV Losses/grieving, relational conflicts, work, family, self
imbalances, work/school problems, failed expectations,
mild to moderate symptoms or impairment.
V Moderate to severe symptoms or impairments,
characterological or personality-disordered behavior,
addictions, sequelae of early life trauma
-Source: Len Sperry
“You don’t try to tell people what philosophies to
adopt, but you show them what the competing
ethical interests are.” -Elliot Cohen
Len Sperry has noted that in counseling and
psychology, even in Christian varieties, there has
been a reluctance to deal with ethics. Ethics can
be ignored by either: (1) being too non-
judgmental so as not to deal with ethical
concerns, or (2) being too directive, “Do this” or
“Don't do that” rather than assisting in developing
an ethical/moral perspective.
So What is Best?
Use what you believe is right before God and in
the best interest of your client, coachee,
Remember theology is the intersection of
revelation and culture... so a relevant theology
without ZERO psychology is probably not
Remember also to be humble (none of us know
all truth) and remember God is the true healer.
Much of this comes from our books:
The Art of Pastoral Care by Robert and Celia Munson
And the soon to be published:
The Dynamics of Pastoral Care also by Robert and
“Pastoral Care in Historical Perspectives,” Book. by Clebsch and Jaekle, 1964.
“Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition,” Book. by Thomas Oden
“Skillful Shepherds: An Introduction to Pastoral Theology,” Book, by Derek J. Tidball.
“Preface to Pastoral Theology,” Book. by Seward Hiltner, 1958.
“Types of Pastoral Care and Counseling,” Book. by Howard Clinebell, 1966.
“Hope in Pastoral Care & Counseling,” Book. by Andrew Lester, 1995.
“The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling,” Book. by Rodney J. Hunter, Ed.,
“Six Functions of Pastoral Care,” Internet Resource, by Jan Corbett-Jones.
“Four Models of Counseling in Pastoral Ministry,” Article. By Timothy Keller,
“Would you ditch your therapist for a “philosophical counselor”?” Article, by Olivia Goldhill
“Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide” by Gary R. Collins, 2007.
“Transforming Self and Community” by Len Sperry, 2005.
“Integrating Spiritual Direction Functions in the Practice of Psychotherapy” by Len Sperry, 2005.
Vriend, Gillian. Lecture notes “Coach, Counsel, Change” (May 2014, Baguio City, Philippines)
Biehl, Bobb. “Mentoring: Confidence in Finding a Mentor and Becoming One” (1997)
Comparing the Five Views Christians Take to Psychology, Eric Johnson, ppt