Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Pastoral Psychotherapy and Pastoral Counseling

  • Ryan LaMotheEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9206

Socrates was reputed to say that “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” I suspect, given the Socratic method, that the beginning of wisdom is the double realization that definitions carry the illusion of certainty and elude univocal agreement. Definitions, we know, vary according to the historical and cultural contexts and traditions and sometimes as a result of conscious whims and unconscious desires. Yet, the Sisyphean work of defining concepts is nevertheless necessary, for without definitions we begin to lose clarity of who we are, what we do, and where we are headed. The plasticity of defining terms, which did not dissuade but instead emboldened this Athenian gadfly, is immediately evident when faced with defining pastoral counseling and pastoral psychotherapy, especially in such a short entry. It seems to me that a wise approach takes into account, if only briefly, the history and traditions from which these concepts are founded. More specifically, I locate and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Breger, L. (2000). Freud: Darkness in the midst of vision. New York: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Capps, D. (2001). Giving counsel. St. Louis: Chalice Press.Google Scholar
  3. Clebsch, W., & Jaekle, C. (1994). Pastoral care in historical perspective. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  4. Cooper-White, P. (2011). Many voices: Pastoral psychotherapy in relational and theological perspectives. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gerkin, C. (1997). An introduction to pastoral care. Nashville: Abingdon.Google Scholar
  6. Gregory. (1978). Pastoral care. New York: Newman.Google Scholar
  7. Holifield, B. (1983). A history of pastoral care in America. Nashville: Abingdon.Google Scholar
  8. Houck, J., & Moss, D. (1977). Pastoral psychotherapy: The fee-for-service model, and professional identity. Journal of Religion and Health, 16(3), 172–182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Meng, H., & Freud, E. (Eds.). (1963). Psychoanalysis and faith: The letters of Sigmund Freud and Oskar Pfister. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Schlauch, C. (1985). Defining pastoral psychotherapy. Journal of Pastoral Care, 39, 218–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Townsend, L. (2009). Introduction to pastoral counseling. Nashville: Abingdon.Google Scholar
  12. Wise, C. (1980). Pastoral psychotherapy: Theory and practice. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pastoral Care and CounselingSt. Meinrad School of TheologySt. MeinradUSA