Pastoral Counselors are psychotherapists who also receive specialized training in the areas of theology and spirituality. Pastoral counseling is not a set of techniques but an approach to psychotherapy that is holistic in that it considers all parts of the person (mind-body-spirit) as interrelated and influential as one seeks healing and wholeness. Pastoral counseling makes space for one to talk about God and the spiritual life, especially how it can be in service of one’s healing and personal relationships.
My love of the conversation between theology and psychology grew out of my own experience in college, where for the first time in my life I felt thrust into a new world that made me question my faith in a deep and what felt, dangerous way. I grew anxious and depressed. And the religious beliefs and practices, which I was taught to draw on for help only increased my panic and my pain. Something was just not right. It was through the help of my own therapist and later spiritual director that I came to experience and understand that religion and psychology are not in opposition with one another, but can be a sort of crucible that can effect change in all areas of one’s life. What we believe impacts everything – our relationship to God, our neighbors, and our innermost self.
I believe that good theology thickens our stories and enriches our lives. There are many beliefs and practices out there that although are well intended, can over time become a source of fear and anxiety rather than freedom and life. I specialize in addressing these particular issues and partner with my clients in exploring how to live a life that is truthful to who they are and to what they believe.