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Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Therapeutic counseling in a Christian context can be highly effective when it maintains narrowly focused goals in a time-limited setting. The details of this proven model of pastoral counseling are described in this practical guide.

This second edition of Strategic Pastoral Counseling has been thoroughly revised and includes two new chapters. Benner includes helpful case s
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Published September 1st 2003 by Baker Publishing Group (first published June 30th 1992)
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A model for pastoral counseling in 5 sessions or less. Benner argues that pastoral counselors do not have sufficient psychological training for counseling beyond the short-term. However this is not to say that they do not have a valuable contribution to make to the field of counseling. No other counselor has the same background in systematic theology, biblical study and ethics. A pastor's seminary training makes them uniquely equipped to attend to a person's spiritual needs. Benner's model is ho ...more
Brian Watson
This is not an exciting book. It likely won't produce any epiphanies in the reader. But I'm sure the author didn't intend to write an exciting, ground-breaking book. The rating is based on the author's intention: to suggest to pastors a certain model of counseling, one limited to five sessions. There is wisdom in limiting counseling sessions to a certain number and narrowing the focus of those sessions to a specific issue. Benner provides two appendices: one outlining a fictional five-session co ...more
Jeff Elliott
The thrust of the book is that most pastoral counseling can be accomplished in five sessions and then presents a plan for that. He argues that due to pastors training and time constraints, issues that cannot be effectively handled in five counseling sessions should most likely be referred to a trained counselor.
He suggests that 85-89% of pastoral counseling sessions require five or less sessions (with 5 being the average).
He affirms the need and appropriateness of pastoral counseling and provide
Benner's first edition (1992) of this book was written in response to a need as he saw it for a practical guide to short-term counselling aimed at Pastors who counsel. This up dated edition (2003) has benefitted from a more general acceptance of the short-term counselling model and has been rewritten to reflect lessons learned in the intervening eleven years between editions.

The target audience of Benner's work is pastors who counsel as part of the broad scope of their pastoral duties. To a less
Matt Mancini
A solid and practical model for practicing a short-term, but effective counseling engagement in the pastoral setting. The opening of the book replicates much of what Benner put forward in "Care of Souls" (which was much more theory-based) but then moves on to a strong and practical presentation of the model for pastoral counseling. Of the three texts in a recent pastoral counseling class, this was by far the most useful.
Jonathan Huggins
This is a good introduction, or refresher, on the purpose of pastoral counseling - it's nature and objectives. It also provides a very helpful short-term model (5 sessions). The case for this method is convincingly laid out. How each session should proceed is clearly articulated. And helpful examples are provided.
Mike Jorgensen
Very good read. Excellent model for counseling and very engaging read especially with the case studies he provides in the back.
Robert Murphy
This is a very helpful book with all kinds of historical and practical tools and tips. It feels a bit dated sometimes and the liberal Christianity it espouses/endorses is hard to ignore on occasion. I don't know the field: this is a textbook for my first counseling class. I can't say I'd recommend it to experienced pastors, but I'm sure I will be returning to it more and more in the future when I get into these situations. I'd say he does an excellent job of portraying the equipoise I wish to ma ...more
Brett Marko
I enjoyed David Benner's book on strategic counseling. Too many of us view counseling as the purview of a long term relationship where we are working on changing a person. I enjoyed how Benner weaves in this kind of counseling as pastoral and Christian ministry. The concept of spiritual direction, pastoral care and spiritual friendship in the beginning of the book were also quite impactful on me. The reality found in short term counseling utilizing this strategic approach, I find could be very u ...more
Great book. Enlightening and helpful for me. Recommended for pastors especially. Benner does a great job setting up boundaries and limits for pastoral counseling.
Scott Ray
Easy short read on short term counseling. Theory is great, model is good but not the best I have read
Ashley Moman
Really good - and practical for those who participate in pastoral counseling.
Adam Godbold
Great strategy. Great book, although --ironically-- too brief. Ha.
Talbot Course: Foundations of Pastoral Care and Counseling
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David G. Benner (PhD, York University; postdoctoral studies, Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach. He currently serves as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality at the Psychological Studies Institute, Richmont Graduate University. He has authored or edited more than t ...more
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“The personal costs of counseling also remind us why it is so necessary for a counselor to experience continuous renewal through Scripture, prayer, and the sacraments. Only when one’s own spiritual batteries are being continuously recharged can one hope to have something to give to others. And only in one’s own personal walk with the Lord can one find the strength to bear not only one’s own burdens but also those of others.” 0 likes
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