Think of the condition I was in when you first
began spiritual counseling! Look what the Lord has done! And he did it though your encouragement. I don’t have words to rely the depth of my gratitude.
I am thankful. Yesterday was life changing. When I woke up this morning, rather than being afraid, I thought “ I am enough”. It feels so wonderful!
The Rev. Joseph K. Acton BA, MDiv. CPC
Executive Director & Pastoral Counselor
Joseph Acton, BA, MDiv, CPC is a seasoned pastor, conference speaker and retreat leader, as well as a certified pastoral counselor with the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and the National Association of Christian Counselors (NACC). He’s also trained in spiritual direction. Joseph served as pastoral counselor in various hospice care settings and is familiar with the emotional dynamics of anxiety, depression and grief. In the 1990s He also worked as pastoral counselor in residence at the Walnut Valley Counseling Center and received clinical supervision under a clinical psychologist and seminary professor.
Desert Call Ministries offers pastoral counseling, spiritual direction and healing prayer online via Zoom or FaceTime meetings. We believe a combination of Christian counseling and healing prayer is an extremely effective way to discover healing and wholeness both emotionally and spiritually. We call this, simply, Soul Care.
Our mission is to bring wholeness through the healing presence of Jesus Christ
Pastoral counseling, a counseling practice that integrates both psychological and theological concepts into its framework, is not unlike other modes of therapy when it comes to the therapeutic process. What sets it apart is the way faith, spirituality, and theology and prayer are incorporated into the model. Pastoral counselors believe this incorporation of spiritual exploration and support can foster wholeness, healing, and growth in those who are seeking help.
Beyond providing mental health counseling, pastoral counselors utilize resources such as prayer, scripture study, and participation in the congregation community to help guide people on their journey toward transcendence, transformation, and greater connection to others. We call this Soul Care at DCM because it is a ministry to the soul of a human being, focussing on healing of emotions, thoughts, relationships, and providing meaning and inspiration for the life journey.
The Rev. Joseph Acton, MDiv. CPC has his certification as a Christian pastoral counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).
The American Association of Christian Counselors, Inc. (AACC) is the largest organization of Christian counselors in the world.
According to a 1992 Gallup poll, 66% of survey participants reported a preference for a mental health professional who held spiritual beliefs and values, while 81% of people seeking mental health treatment stated a preference for a counselor with values similar to their own. This data may explain why some people seek help from religious leaders or counselors who share their faith. Pastoral counseling may offer benefit to people of all backgrounds, but it may be best suited to those seeking mental health support or guidance grounded in a theological or spiritual perspective.
People might choose pastoral counseling when they:
Pastoral counselors are uniquely positioned to offer a professional level of mental health treatment, thanks to graduate training and education, while also providing spiritual guidance from a faith-based perspective.
Pastoral counselors can range from ordained religious figures like priests, chaplains, and rabbis to practicing psychotherapists who provide what some call pastoral psychotherapy. They might come from any religious background and can be found in multiple settings—congregations, counseling centers, inpatient programs, and private practice, among others.
Training and education is available for those who wish to practice pastoral counseling in various formats. There are pastoral counselors who are not credentialed that actively provide support to people in need. There are also pastoral counselors who are more affiliated with the religious aspect of their role and have less training in mental health treatment. But a vast majority of pastoral counselors seek certification.
To become certified, prospective counselors must meet the requirements of their religious group, usually ordination, and receive graduate-level training in both theology and psychology, as defined by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
Requirements set forth by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors stipulate candidates must earn one of the following graduate degrees:
Candidates must also complete 375 hours of supervised counseling experience and a self-reflective clinical pastoral education (CPE) experience. The supervised CPE experience is coupled with classroom instruction and discussion to ensure candidates fully integrate their learning in theology and behavioral science. (American Association of Pastoral Counselors)
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