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Welcome to a practical pastoral counseling site of Dr. Harold L. White

 Every pastor can be a valued and competent counselor.

Qualities A Pastor Needs as a Counselor

To a certain degree these qualities can be learned, but more often they are gifts from God.

One quality that a counselee is seeking in a counselor is an attitude of acceptance.
Problems are normal, and no one is above them.
There are those that might imply that Christians should not have problems,
but little do they realize that this is one of the major means God uses to conform us
to His image.
All of us have problems, and God desires that we accept and counsel one another.

The second quality needed of pastor as counselor is that he should be good listener.
He must listen with interest, and without fidgeting or hurrying.
He should listen without interruptions and should reveal a warmth through the expression
of his eyes.
A good listener allows the person to finish sharing what he perceives his problem to be
before helping him gain insight.

The pastor uses properly inserted questions which are used to obtain information
and clarify issues, but that can later be used to provoke thinking and help
the counselee reach his own conclusions.

The third quality the pastor needs to learn is how to be suggestive.
There is a time for suggestive statements, and often these will be better received
when a statement would be rejected.

Suggested phrases are helpful.
There are times to be suggestive, and times to be confronting.
The good counselor can discern which to use and when.

The fourth quality that the pastor needs is to know how and when to interject Scripture.
Proper timing and readiness are important.
The counselee needs to know that the counselor really cares, and then, Scripture can
usually be shared without any offense.
The Scripture must meet the specific need of the individual, and a few verses
are preferable to many.
At the appropriate time, prayer with a counselee is also of great benefit.

A fifth quality that is helpful is the attitude the counselor uses to help
different personalities.
Various attitudes are: matter-of-factness, firm kindness, active friendliness,
and passive friendliness.

A counselor might use a matter-of-fact attitude with a brother living in sin,
firm kindness with a depressed brother, active friendliness with those
who really want and need encouragement, and passive friendliness with those
who have paranoid trends.
Each person is different, and by being sensitive to his spirit, the counselor can
employ an attitude to which the counselee can best respond.

A sixth quality of a Christian counselor is an unwavering purpose for Christ.
There are thousands of individuals who are looking for someone
with a purpose for living -- someone who knows where he is heading
-- someone who is living for Christ.

A Counselee needs a counselor who is warm, open, honest, genuine,
and very personal.
If they are going to be open and honest themselves, then they must sense
the same from the counselor. 
They want to sense that the counselor is personally interested in them
and in their problems.

A good counselor does not act shocked upon hearing a counselee's story.
This only frightens the counselee and prevents him from sharing the guilt that he may
need to share, and prevents him from learning how to deal with it effectively.

Christ was not shocked with the problems of men for "… He knew what was in man."
(John 2:25)
When Christ was helping the woman of Sychar, He demonstrated no shock to her past.
He dealt with it straight out and effectively.

A good counselor offers the counselee realistic hope.
He is confident in Christ, and in his ability as a counselor through Christ,
and in what Christ can accomplish in the counselee.

If I think I can help a person, I let him know it.
If I think a depressed person will start feeling better, I tell him so.
I try to offer what I consider to be realistic hope.

A counselor needs a sense of humor.
He deals with many serious problems daily and without a sense of humor,
the load can be too much.
He needs at times to be able to help his counselee have this same sense of humor."

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