The definition of pastoral counseling is somewhat difficult to generate. But we will define pastoral counseling in three ways. First, it is a normal function of pastoral duties, a function of pastoral care. The second form of pastoral counseling is a more specialized vocation. Many large churches today have a pastoral counselor on staff. These two kinds of counselors are mostly available to parishioners. You should not fill out a request-form on this website if you are seeking a Pastoral counselor as defined in this paragraph. If one desires this kind of Pastoral counselor they should seek membership in a church, give financially, and attend church regularly.

The third kind of Pastoral counselor may or may not serve a specific congregation, They have a graduate level or PhD ministry degree, counseling training, state licensing and/or certifications from a recognized counseling association. Many also have psychology and counseling degrees. These dedicated pastoral counselors have chosen to make counseling a vocation. They are ordained or licensed ministers with a graduate degree in ministry, theology, or divinity with training in counseling. This kind of counseling is available to anyone. You do not have to be a member of any church or particular denomination.

The pastoral counselors just described in the second paragraph above are professional counselors and charge a fee for their services. Counseling is a vocation for them. They are highly educated and experienced. Most pastoral counselors, like professional counselors, feel they are not paid for counseling, they are paid to keep counseling. The fees can range from a flat fee, a fee for a series of sessions, and a sliding scale according to income. Most counselors try everything they can to help their clients make their services affordable.