Pastoral Counseling Differs from Traditional Psychotherapy

After a long career in the manufacturing industry and in the United States Air Force Reserve, Hubert Jaundoo became an ordained minister on May 30, 2011. Through the American Association of Christian Counselors, Dr. Jaundoo earned certification in pastoral and crisis counseling. For three years, Hubert Jaundoo provided direct ministry at a rehabilitation center, developing skills in interpreting the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. He now serves as an assistant pastor at Bethesda Evangelical Lutheran Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pastoral counselors differ from other mental health professionals in that they receive graduate level training in both theology and psychology. Their counseling curriculum includes the study of cultural systems as well as human development and personality. They learn counseling skills appropriate for work with individuals, married couples, and families. Pastoral counselors also acquire skills in facilitating groups and addressing community dynamics. As with other mental health professionals, they undertake supervised fieldwork to fulfill degree and certification requirements.

Individuals and families seek pastoral counseling when they want to combine a religious or spiritual perspective with mental health treatment. A 1992 Gallup poll found that 66 percent of respondents indicated that they preferred a mental health counselor who represented spiritual values and beliefs. Pastoral counselors often work with other mental professionals, such as psychiatrists, when the patient benefits from medication in their treatment.

Unlike traditional psychotherapists, pastoral counselors often believe that humans yearn for a stronger connection with the divine, which the psychotherapeutic process can help facilitate. Pastoral counselors may be particularly adept at understanding the religious history of the client and their family, identifying how it assists the clients in the formation of coping mechanisms, or observing how it contributes to an unhealthy pathology. In the therapy setting, these professionals may utilize Scripture and other religious resources. The May 1997 Harvard Mental Health Newsletter states that the unique perspective and orientation provided by pastoral counselors may be “a revelation of love, forgiveness, and good news to people who have been in bondage to their feelings and the past.”


Holy Communion in the Lutheran Church

The recipient of a doctorate in divinity from Jackson Theological Seminary, Hubert Jaundoo serves as a pastor’s assistant and minister at Bethesda Evangelical Lutheran Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. In this role, Hubert Jaundoo offers Holy Communion to parishioners.

Also known as the Eucharist, Holy Communion is an “eschatological feast” that provides a “foretaste of the heavenly banquet.” Through this process, Lutherans eat bread and drink wine that represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ. They refer to it as the “means of grace.” The origins of communion go back to the Last Supper when Christ blessed bread and wine and gave it to his disciples.

In the Lutheran church, the ordained pastor distributes the bread, and the lay assisting minister allows people to drink from a chalice. The bread varies depending on the church. Some churches use whole loaves of leavened or unleavened bread, while others prefer thin wafers known as hosts. Congregations consume the wine in different ways, as well. Parishioners either drink directly from the chalice or from individual cups. If the church practices the former method, the minister wipes the rim with a purifier between communicants. Alternatively, some churches prefer intinction, where communicants dip the bread in the wine prior to ingestion.