Christian Books

Friday, February 4, 2011

Strategic Pastoral Counseling by David G. Benner

Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model
David G. Benner
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2003
2nd Edition

Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: Dr. David Benner, a Christian clinical psychologist, has researched and written on many topics relating to the Christian faith and psychology.  In this work, he has written a pastoral counseling textbook for pastors who counsel, but who are not trained as professional counselors.  He has created a counseling model that utilizes pastors’ biblical and theological training in a pastoral counseling context.  While the strategic model is based on research of what pastors actually do concerning counseling, it attempts to focus this by setting pastoral counseling in its proper context of one’s overall pastoral ministry and makes use of the spiritual resources of pastors in addressing parishioners’ issues in counseling.

Evangelical Assessment: Benner’s model is based largely on research of what pastors actually do and insights from secular counseling.  As a model, it is psychologically and historically informed.  It provides a model of pastoral counseling that keeps counseling within the overall context of pastoral ministry within the church setting and makes use of the spiritual resources available to pastors.  My only criticism would be that the model is rather bland and broad.  It is lacking in evangelical emphasis, which means that it can just as easily be employed by those are not evangelical as well as those who are.  Still, for those who are evangelicals, it is a model that can give focus to using ones’ biblical, theological, and pastoral training in a pastoral counseling context.

Who might this book interest? This book would be of interest to pastors or Christian lay counselors.  I think that it would be most useful for those pastors who have solid theological training.

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