Understanding Pastoral Counseling


When I was searching for books about pastoral counseling, I decided to search books on this topic beyond Christian publishers. I have to say that I am surprised about the amount of non-Christian publishers that are publishing excellent books about pastoral counseling. That is the case of the book “Understanding Pastoral Counseling” edited by Elizabeth A. Maynard and Jill L. Snodgrass (2015), and published by Springer Publishing Company.

This book is, perhaps, one of the top five books on the subject of pastoral counseling and an outstanding book on the integration of pastoral counseling and the counseling profession. It is divided into seven major sections and 28 short chapters written by well know scholars. The first chapter is devoted to the history and development of pastoral counseling and how this term is understood today beyond the Christian religion. In fact, the book also presents perspectives on Jewish, Muslim, Baddish, Hindu, and Native American spiritual counseling. Another remarkable point of the book is the way pastoral counseling is differentiated from clinical counseling, though both disciplines have some commonalities.

I found very helpful the reflection questions included at the end of every chapter. References have been also placed at the end of each chapter, which is always helpful if one is interested in finding works used by the authors.

Summarizing, this book is an invaluable resource for scholars, pastoral counseling students, and pastors who want to deepen into their understanding of the counseling aspect of the pastoral ministry in the twenty-first century. I am sure this book will be in the desk of pastors and counselors for many decades.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


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