I continue to be amazed at the level at which people share with me in counseling.
It is a high privilege that people trust me and the other pastors on our staff with so much.
It is also a deep responsibility.
What does that combination of high privilege and deep responsibility demand of me in pastoral counseling?
- Confidentiality — if people trust me with the deepest, most painful areas of their lives, they deserve to know that what they share is between me, them, and God.
- A good ear — it is vitally important that I listen well. Listening involves a lot more than simply being in the same room without earplugs in! It involves eye contact, posture, and the right questions at the right time.
- Truth — there are times in counseling when people need to hear the truth. Especially if that truth is not what they want to hear! This has been my area of greatest improvement through all the years of doing this kind of work. It is so freeing for both counselor and counsel-ee! In the long run, people are grateful for hearing what is right and true even if it challenges what they desire in the moment.
- Prayer — this is what separates pastoral counseling from every other kind of counseling. It is rare that I don’t begin and end these kinds of conversations with prayer.
If these walls could talk . . . but they won’t.