Click on the button to learn basic information about pastoral counselors.

Do pastoral counselors treat mental illness?

A pastor counselor is trained to recognize certain illnesses but so that they can refer a patient to a professional trained to treat them.  A pastoral counselor is part of a network.  They often refer patients to psychiatrists, family doctors, dietitians, substance-abuse counselors and even financial counselors.  A pastoral counselor does not treat mental illness but often provides spiritual and emotional support to those dealing with mental illness.

Will health insurance pay for pastoral counseling?

Most health insurance does not pay for pastoral counseling because its purpose is to pay for health-related expenses only.  Happiness Ministry operates on donations only.  Our counselors are in various parts of the world. A client can discuss donations with the specific counselor they choose. Such donations are made through Happiness Ministry and transferred to the counselor.  The suggested donation is US$60 but many are willing to accept less from those with financial difficulties.

Private pay counseling is a term used for therapy that does not involved a third-party like an insurance company.  It provides a few advantages.  1. No diagnosis is required.  Many insurance companies require a therapist to diagnose a client with a disorder in order to cover the cost.  2. Better client-therapist match.  Many insurance companies only cover certain therapists.  Clients often find themselves with therapists that have a different worldview or that they do not connect with.  3. More personalized service.  Many insurance companies limit the therapy options a counselor can provide.  Private-pay therapists are able to personalize treatment without concerns of insurance company approval.  4. No record of treatment.  When an insurance company covers counseling costs, there is a record of the treatment.  Private-pay therapists do not provide any records to insurance companies. Thus there is greater confidentiality. 5. Greater motivation.  When clients pay themselves, they know the value of therapy..  They display greater motivation.. Therapists enjoy working with someone who wants therapy. 6. Research has shown private-pay clients experience better results that those receiving counseling for “free”.


Is a pastoral counselor a licensed professional counselor(LPC)?

A pastoral counselor and an LPC are not the same – although some people can be both.  An LPC is a clinical counselor.  They are licensed and regulated by various governmental boards and professional associations. Pastoral counselors are credentialed and regulated by religious organizations and may be influenced by professional associations.  Pastoral counselors are not licensed by a civil government or authority.

A major difference between a clinical and a pastoral counselor is the basic philosophy of the counseling process. Clinical counselors only interact with their client through the professional setting and are strongly discouraged from interaction outside of that
professional relationship. A pastoral counselor may have a relationship with the person outside the formal counseling setting.  The perspective client can determine which best meets their needs.

Another big difference are world views and values. A clinical counselor is limited in the degree that they can discuss and direct the client from their own values. Counseling theory, as taught in the behavioral sciences, is to dictate the perspective and advice given.  A clinical counselor who is Christian is allowed to discuss their values with a client only if they specifically ask, but giving advice based on such values is not always allowed.  A pastoral counselor will give advice and counsel based on both religious values and behavioral science theories.  The methodologies are free to be openly explored.  The counselor is expected to counsel from the viewpoint of the religion they are associated with.

What is the difference between a pastoral counselor and a Christian counselor?

The term “pastoral counselor” is a legal term that identifies the type of counseling the therapist provides.  The terms “Christian counselor” or “Biblical counselor” can be interchangeable with the term “pastoral counselor” in many cases.  However not all pastoral counselors are Christians nor use the Bible.  A member of the clergy that belongs to another religion such a Hinduism, Islam or Judaism can also be a pastoral counselor.  Thus it is a legal term and does not necessarily mean the therapist is a Bible-believing Christian.  All of the counselors at PostumCafe are members of the Seventh-day Adventist church and have attended a Seventh-day Adventist university at some point during their formal education.

The button below is a link that contrasts the training required for different kinds of specialists.

What type of education does a pastoral counselor have?

Clinical counselors must meet the requirements of the civil governing authority to maintain their license.  That is often the Department of Health with jurisdiction over that geographic area. Pastoral counselors often have equal or even greater educational backgrounds based on the religious organization they are affiliated with. There are multiple levels of competency in both clinical and pastoral counselors. Potential clients need to look at the educational and experiential background of any counselor they consider consulting.  Knowing the pastoral counselor’s religious beliefs (Adventist, Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, Islam, etc) is also very important.  Here at the Postum Cafe, a background of each counselor is provided for potential clients.

What issues can pastoral counseling help with?

The pastoral counseling available at the Postum Cafe can help with these issues:

  • Premarital counseling
  • Grief counseling
  • Postpartum counseling
  • Marriage issues: conflict in the home and/or parenting
  • Divorce therapy: emotional issues during the process of divorce
  • Post-divorce therapy: adjusting to a new life
  • Step-family and blended family issues
  • Co-parenting: working with an ex-spouse to raise children
  • Single parenting
  • Substance abuse
  • 4th and 5th Step work (part of 12-step recovery program)