Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Fascinating World of Pastoral Counseling & Coaching

Welcome. I'm Dan Montgomery. I've been doing pastoral and clinical counseling for over 35 years. I've counseled several thousand people in universities, private practice, and both Protestant and Catholic churches. My abiding concern is to serve the Body of Christ through the Compass Therapy approach to pastoral counseling. More about this later.

I've always believed that the Church is a natural place for healing personality conflicts, fixing broken relationships, and finding one's purpose in Christ. Christian ministers and small groups leaders deal with people all the time who faced significant problems and need not just a friendly ear, but action steps for making their lives and relationships better. This is how the love of God gets translated into daily human affairs.

I am committed to increasing the counseling expertise and communication skill sets of professional caregivers, as well as individuals within congregation whom the Holy Spirit endows with gifts for healing and helping others. Perhaps blogging is a good way to pass on what practical knowledge about the fascinating world of pastoral counseling and coaching.

As I write this, I'm visualizing you. Are you a person others naturally turn to when they need somebody to trust? A person others confide in when their hearts are broken or their dreams shattered? Are you a healer of the soul who wants to enrich your theory and method, so that Jesus Christ can use you all the more? If you answer "yes" then we're on the same wavelength, and I know Jesus will bless our journey into pastoral counseling and coaching.

My calling from God to a lifetime of practicing and teaching counseling began in seminary, without me fully recognizing it. I not only wanted to learn every aspect of Christian faith and doctrine, but I felt a burning desire to understand the psychology of human behavior, so that I could help people grow more whole.

I felt surprised when the Holy Spirit guided me to earn a PhD in counseling and clinical psychology. Yet it began to make sense at my graduation, when a week later I was also ordained as a non-denominational minister. My full-time service from that day until now has included both therapeutic counseling, and consulting with pastors and parishioners wherever I've lived.

At the age of sixty-six has come the greatest surprise of all, that my book Pastoral Counseling and Coaching, among other books in the Compass Series, has been brought into worldwide usage, and commended by counseling peers at Yale, Princeton, Fuller, Notre Dame, and Stanford, as well as from ministerial professors in most major Protestant and Catholic seminaries.

I am humbled and amazed. But primarily I feel excited that the Church in the 21st century is showing great interest in ministering to the whole person: psychologically as well as spiritually. What you're going to see as this blog unfolds is a thoroughgoing integration of psychology and theology, because in my experience at least, when either one of these is overly emphasized at the expense of the other, the people in a congregation—each dear soul whom Christ loves—are deprived.

I know that you have your own way of intermingling  theological perspectives and psychological dynamics may differ from mine. That's what makes our conversation interesting.

That said, I consider us launched. Come join me in future posts, where I'll slow down the pace so we can savor our explorations into the fascinating world of pastoral counseling and coaching!

You can click on the title if you're interested to read the first chapter of my book on

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