Pastor as Counselor

Wise Presence, Sacred Conversation

Book - Paperback
Pastor as Counselor
Paperback ISBN: 9781630886905
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E-Book ISBN: 9781630886912
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Published October 2015

Pastoral counseling is a wisdom ministry of care, connection, and restoration.

This very practical book offers no-nonsense instructions for pastors, chaplains, and ministers whose real specialty is the practice of relational wisdom. Patton provides a helpful, step-by-step template for pastoral counseling sessions and clear guidelines for understanding when to defer and how to refer—all while remaining faithful to the basic pastoral calling to connect persons seeking help with the relationships and resources they need to deal with their lives.

"In a society of specialists, John Patton’s Pastor as Counselor is a bold reminder of the healing potential of 'care-full' attending to lost and separated persons through the unique relational wisdom of the generalist pastor. This is vintage Patton, written with gentle wisdom and generous counsel summarizing decades of practicing and teaching pastoral counseling."—Herbert Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL, and Faculty in Practical Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA

"John Patton wrote this 'how-to' book for ministers without specialized training in mental health issues. Ministers are good at developing and deepening human relationships, and that is exactly what they need in order to become skilled short-term pastoral counselors. Concrete, down-to-earth, and quintessentially practical, this is a book that should be on the syllabus of every seminary’s introduction to pastoral care and counseling. It is the fruit of a lifetime of reflection and embodied relational wisdom at its best." —Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ

"When it comes to counseling, our first port of call is often the mental health professions. In this book John Patton carefully draws out what is special about pastoral counseling. With theological depth and wise practical utility, he offers a clear guide for pastoral counselors as to what it is that gives them their identity and what that looks like in practice. This is a wise and deeply practical book that will inevitably be transformative." —John Swinton, Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies; School of Divinity, History and Philosophy; University of Aberdeen; Aberdeen, UK

"John Patton has acquired unparalleled wisdom over decades of providing, supervising, teaching, and writing about pastoral care. This most gifted and deeply reflective thinker has crafted a primer that will become a classic, spelling out what’s central for those new to the vocation, reminding the more seasoned of what really matters."—Chris R. Schlauch, Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Psychology of Religion, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA

"Patton's book nicely parallels what he asks pastors to do in counseling others.  Through a well-developed structure, he offers wise presence, spiritual conversation, and relational wisdom.  His book would be a valuable resource in an advanced pastoral care course in a theological school.  Similarly, a peer group of pastors would benefit from collective engagement with insights it provides as they assess their pastoral counseling relationships."  Kenneth J. McFayden, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Va. (Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 71(4)


About the Author

John Patton

John Patton is the Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and a retired United Methodist minister. He is the author of many books, including Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide, Is Human Forgiveness Possible? and Pastoral Care in Context: An Introduction to Pastoral Care. Dr. Patton is also an associate editor of Abingdon's Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling.