Early efforts to create an empirically grounded basis for pastoral counseling established a linkage between cognitive psychology and therapy and the unique situation of the pastoral counselor (Curran, 1969; Hillman, 1967; Shelton, 1989). The normative orientation of the pastoral counselor has long been recognized as oriented toward the transcendence of sin and its ill effects. As Moser (1952) has commented, the introduction of clinical theory and technique into pastoral counseling has significantly improved the ability of pastoral caregivers to respond to the needs of their congregation or parishioners. As the field of pastoral counseling itself has developed, an emphasis on the creation of a system of educating counselors for practice has also increased (Beel, 2001).
Christian Cognitive Therapy, says Sturdy (1999), combines science and religion in a logical problem-solving strategy to identify faulty perceptions and images and replace those images with more positive, life-affirming beliefs and values. In the view of Stevens and Stevens (1999), the pastoral counselor using any of several variations of spiritual cognitive therapy must recognize that healing cannot occur outside of transcendence and the commitment to major attitudinal and behavioral change.
The goals of spiritual cognitive therapy, according to Stevens and Stevens (1999) are:
. Identifying and resolving spiritual concerns relevant
to a presenting problem and psychological well-being
. Emphasizing the priority of growth and well-being
. Identifying and using spiritual resources
. Helping clients resolve spiritual identity issues.
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