Purposes and goals of pastoral counseling. Before stating the purpose or goal of pastoral counseling it is important to define what pastoral counseling is. The easiest way to approach a definition is to narrow the field by identifying what pastoral counseling is not since many activities aid Soul Care, or spiritual growth toward Christian sanctification. At its broadest levels, Christian Friendship can be provided by friends and family to encourage deep growth and healing (Benner, 17). Pastoral ministry includes “anything that brings people into contact with God nurtures the growth of their spirits and heals their souls” (Benner, 18), but is often stunted to maintain all pastoral roles.
Significant elements about the practice of soul care. The most important place to begin Soul Care is with God's revealed knowledge about man, which, according to scripture, is holistic, viewing man as one with many parts (53). Man is thus an integrated whole of which soul, body, and spirit reflect aspects of, so Man is an “embodied soul,” or an “inspirited body,” not a spirit animating flesh (22). Soul Care must therefore treat all three aspects of man, lest concern for the whole person be neglected (23). This is often times the failing of modern psychology, since “humans have often been stripped of all that made them distinctively human” (55) and seen as nothing more than a compilation of behaviors and models. Therefore, Benner asserts two aspects to Soul Care: cure, as “the response to the need for a remedy for sin”; and care, as “assistance in spiritual growth” (28) as they play out via various forms.