I didn’t go to school for therapy or counseling. I went to seminary school. I don’t have a DSM on my shelf. I have a lot of Bibles and books with big words about theology, but I am not equipped to be your therapist.
Yes, I can help you spiritually. I can talk to you about your faith. I am even happy to walk with you in your dark moments in life. In fact, it is one of the most sacred and holy things I can do with another person. But I cannot treat mental illness or offer services to people on the spectrum. I cannot help you get through addiction in the way a trained and licensed therapist can. But I can offer support. And I can listen. I love to listen to people’s stories.
I can remind you God loves you, fully and completely, regardless of what you think of yourself or what people say to you. I can be your cheerleader and I can give one hell of a holy pep talk. But I cannot give you treatment.
There is this misconception that pastors can treat you for things. We can’t, unless we are in fact therapists as well as pastors. And those amazing people do exist! My friend John is an incredible one. If you are in the Louisville, KY, area and need one, hit him up!
Historically, people went to pastors for all kinds of advice. Pastors are public servants and back in the church’s heyday (not sure exactly when, but definitely not now when we’re in the world of the ‘nones’) we were highly sought after for advice on all kinds of things. But times have changed. People have realized that a pastor can’t give you counseling (sadly, not every pastor believes this, but that ego trip is for another blog post).
But the fact remains, clergy aren’t counselors or therapists. We are just clergy. We are just like everyone else. We simply answered a call to a life where we get to experience some of the holiest moments in someone’s life because they automatically trust us because you’re supposed to trust clergy, right (not all clergy are trustworthy, but that’s another topic for another post)?
So in short, I’m not your therapist, I’m a pastor. But I sure can recommend some good ones to you.