Some general counseling programs offer a specialization in pastoral community counseling. These programs are typically offered at the graduate level and include graduate certificate programs in pastoral community counseling, master's degree programs in community counseling with a concentration in pastoral counseling and Doctor of Education programs in pastoral community counseling.
These counseling programs are available through online or on-campus programs. A Doctor of Education requires a full 60 semester credits; however, a graduate certificate may only require a handful of semester credits in general counseling courses. Check with your state's licensing requirements for information on specific counseling certifications. Requirements vary by state, but many require at least a master's degree for licensure.
Here are some common concepts taught in pastoral community counseling courses:
- Professional ethics
- Trauma/crisis intervention
- Proper communication
List of Pastoral Community Counseling Courses
Research and Analysis
A research and analysis course can be formatted as one course that covers various areas of research, or it can be broken down into two or three separate courses. Students learn about quantitative and qualitative research and about the ways of gathering information. Topics include sampling organization, descriptive research, data and measurement standards. Students learn to perform statistical analysis using correlation, mean, mode, median, t-tests and chi square computations.
Family and Marriage Therapy
This course looks at relationships in families and couples. Students develop therapeutic plans and interventions based on each couple's or family's needs. Specific topics might include physical abuse, diversity, substance abuse, multicultural families and sexual orientations. Behavioral strategies, experimental treatments and psychodynamics might also be covered.
Spiritual Topics in Counseling
This counseling course covers the different relationships between people and their faiths. It concentrates on developing a spiritual understanding needed for working with different populations of people. Specific topics include human development, faith relationships, mortality, multi-generational relationships, morals and life meaning. Students learn how to counsel through spiritual beliefs.
Conflict Resolution and Mediation
This course covers topics pertaining to families and individuals. Students learn about the roles individuals play in their communities, families, jobs and social structures. Theories in conflict resolution are covered along with communication methods, problem solving methods and behavioral theories. Students cover topics affecting all demographics, including groups, families, individuals, partners and communities as a whole.
Grief counseling addresses both physical and spiritual loss. Students learn to help others deal with the death of loved ones, divorce or other situations that can cause emotional stress. Students learn grief coping strategies, the stages of grief and the consequences of providing grief counseling. Techniques for helping children and adults of various cultures are covered.