Counselling Skills for Church and Faith Community Workers

Counselling Skills for Church and Faith Community Workers

Counselling Skills for Church and Faith Community Workers

Counselling Skills for Church and Faith Community Workers


This book provides an integrative model of counselling skills that can be used in the pastoral context found in church or faith communities, but may also be of value in many other contexts which recognize the spiritual dimension of people's lives. This creative model draws insights from psychodynamic, person-centred and narrative approaches to counselling.

. Part One focuses on the key tasks, skills and relational qualities that combine to make a good pastoral carer or counsellor.
. Part Two covers three key areas of specific concern in church and faith community contexts: conflicts with beliefs and values; conflicts of power and sexuality; and conflicts with guilt, shame and forgiveness.

The pastoral carer who reads this book will be better equipped to continue the vital role which they play in the life of church or faith communities.


Linda was the head teacher of a demanding inner city primary school in
London. As a new minister in the area I had gone in to see her to ask if I
could do an assembly and she explained to me the local education
authority's policy about multi-faith recognition and how she didn't
want to 'push' a particular religion. I did point out that in an effort to be
politically correct she was discriminating against Christianity because it
did not feature at all. Linda recognized this so we arranged to do a
Harvest assembly together. As we met to prepare this, at only our
second meeting, I simply asked how she was, as Linda seemed to me to
be very tired, with what I felt was a grey-tinged weariness. At this point
she burst into floods of tears and I sat with her as she sobbed. Eventually
Linda said that she had been doing this demanding job for two years
and I was the first person ever to ask her how she was as a person.
For the first time in two years she felt cared for; and this led Linda,
slowly but surely, on a journey of faith in which she recovered a spiritual
dimension to her life and found new ways to express it.

And it all began with an expression of genuine care. It does appear to be true that 'the human race can only survive because people care' (Virgo 1987: 11). The rabbis of the Mishnah suggest that 'when people are created in the image of God they are all different. What they hold in common is simply their infinite value . . .

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