What is this Area of Counseling?
A diverse area of counseling that focuses on spiritual growth of clients is Spiritual Counseling. Professionals in this specialty field may specialize in specific religious aspects or focus purely on an individual's spiritual beliefs as part of the treatment process.
There are different forms of Spiritual Counseling for upcoming professionals to consider prior to engaging in online degree programs in this field. Some professionals choose to pursue the classic counseling certification, then move forward to certification within their specific theological area.
In some states, students can choose online degree programs specifically in Spiritual Counseling, without having to engage in counseling-specific degree programs. There are only 5 states that currently recognize and license pastoral counselors, making the general counseling route more realistic for most incoming students.
Techniques in Spiritual Counseling typically integrate unique belief systems into understanding thought processes, behaviors, and emotions. Therapists within this field may utilize religious values, entities, or beliefs to change thought patterns and encourage positive emotional growth.
Professionals in this field can work in general counseling settings, religious organizations, or even in private practice with the appropriate licensure within their state. If you are seeking a career that can allow you to help others using techniques relevant to their beliefs, Spiritual Counseling may be the right field for you.
Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program
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Master of Social Work
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Master's in Clinical Psychology
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Bachelor's Degree Required
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Online Psychology Master's Programs
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Online MA in School Counseling
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|University of Southern California|
Online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling
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Spiritual Counseling Degrees
Spiritual Counseling is a form of counseling that utilizes tools from different types of spiritual denominations. Students on path to this type of career may begin their training with general education in psychology, mental health, and counseling.
Bachelors in Theology or Psychology
The Bachelor's in Psychology, Theology, or specific religious concentrations. The bachelor's is the foundation program for upcoming counselors to build their knowledge of mental health and spirituality, but cannot result in licensure for professional counselors.
Masters in Counseling
Individuals that seek to provide individual or group counseling services must complete master's training in counseling prior to training in a particular specialization. Master's in Counseling programs can lead to licensure in different states, making it the core requirement for upcoming therapists in many different concentration fields.
ACPE Accredited Counseling Programs
There are currently 5 states that allow certification and licensing to pastoral counselors specializing in Spiritual Counseling. ACPE-accredited degree programs and certification options lead to certification as Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselors, Maine Licensed Pastoral Counselors, New Hampshire Pastoral Psychotherapists, North Carolina Fee-Based Practicing Pastoral Counselors, and Tennessee Clinical Pastoral Therapists.
In some cases, professionals may also move into doctoral-level degree programs as a means for gaining more expertise in counseling or other specialization. Some Spiritual Counselors may choose to pursue religion-based doctoral programs or those focusing on advanced counseling during their learning experience.
Each of these degree programs can be important to the growth and development of upcoming counselors. As you develop your educational plan for becoming a part of this field, you should choose programs that best align with your future licensure and goals as a mental health professionals.
Online Master's in Spiritual Counseling Programs
In today's world, online education can be a reliable source for obtaining positions in the field of counseling. Many people rely on online educational programs due to having busy schedules or not enough free time to attend courses on campus.
Online Master's in Counseling programs allow learners to participate in courses from home, work, or any location with an internet connection. Courses within these programs can be in synchronous or asynchronous format, with students allowed to choose based on their personal learning preferences.
Each state has specific expectations for individuals that choose to become licensed as professional counselors in the field. The minimum degree requirement for each state providing licensure is the master's, which must hold accreditation from a reputable accreditation agency.
The CACREP currently provides a large number of online and reliable Master's in Counseling programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Rehabilitation Counseling. You are encouraged to explore these offerings as you decide on which program to enroll in.
The online Master's in Counseling can provide you with effective methods for treating patients with various presenting symptoms, assessment tools to use for different groups of clients, and information pertaining to ethics and values in the counseling field.
Are There Online Spiritual Counseling Programs?
Spiritual Counseling is a unique career area that utilizes specific spiritual viewpoints and methods when working with clients in need. Depending on the type of work you plan to do in the field, there may be separate degree programs ideal for you to engage in.
Online Masters in Counseling
The most common online program for upcoming counseling professionals is the online Master’s in Counseling. This CACREP-accredited route can allow professionals to engage in general counseling practice, as well as practice within their specific treatment area.
Masters in Christian Counseling, Accredited by ACPE
Alternative online programs such as the online Master’s in Christian Counseling is available to upcoming learners that are interested in applying their skills within the church or religious setting. Christian Counseling degree programs receive accreditation from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).
Since the online Master’s in Counseling can lead to more career offerings in the field, most students pursuing this career option choose this route. Certification programs in various theological and religious specialties can help counselors gain more insight into how psychotherapy can be applied in the spiritual setting.
Top Spiritual Counseling Programs and Availability
During your path to becoming a Spiritual Counselor, you may need to locate reliable and accredited programs to engage in for your licensure. Technology has allowed for educational programs to evolve into convenient and flexible programs suitable for any education seeking adult.
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University is a current provider of CACREP-accredited online degree programs. This online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be a great option for incoming students looking for a stable foundation for their future.
This program takes around 3 years to complete and meets all of the licensing requirements for counseling degree programs. Students enrolled in this program are required to engage in a clinical experience component after graduation.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Another university to consider for your program is the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. This intriguing university offers multiple online and accredited degree programs in this field, most notably the online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Partnered with clinical experience, this reliable degree program can provide you with the knowledge you need to provide mental health services to the general public. Most students in this program can complete it within 2.5-3 years, making it a great option for you to review prior to making your final decision.
Sample Courses for the Masters in Spiritual Counseling
The courses within your online master’s program can help you to create a portfolio of knowledge for use with your clients in the professional setting. Spiritual Counselors that have completed CACREP-accredited degree programs can utilize the same diagnostic tools and general mental health counselors, but may integrate spirituality and religion into the treatment process.
Diagnosis of Mental Health Issues
Diagnosis of Mental Health Issues is a popular course offering in Master’s in Counseling degree programs. This course can outline some of the common mental health disorders as they are published in the DSM, as well as provide insight into common diagnostic techniques and assessments in the field.
Theological and Psychological Theories of Counseling is another course that may be included within your degree program. This course can integrate biblical and theological methods into standard counseling, as well as challenging learners to therapeutically use scripture during the treatment process.
Social and Cultural Influence
In addition to diagnostic and treatment focused courses, you may also engage in course work like Social and Cultural Influence. Since a person’s environment can play a huge role in spiritual and psychological growth, this course can provide future counselors with insight about social and environmental management for emotional healing.
Additional courses in counseling ethics, research, and human development can also be part of your counseling degree program. Your completion of these courses can lead to extensive knowledge in human social, emotional, and spiritual development.
Path to Working in Spiritual Counseling
When you have identified the field of Spiritual Counseling as your career of choice, you should begin making a plan to meet your end goal. The first step you should pursue is enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program.
There are a few different bachelor’s programs that can prepare you for higher learning in the field of counseling. The Bachelor’s in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work are common programs that can provide learners with relevant foundation information about mental health and treatment of clients in the field.
The bachelor’s program consists of 4 years of extensive learning in general education and concentration-specific courses. This level of degree is offered in traditional and online learning environments, making it possible for students with varying lifestyles to advance their degree.
After completing the bachelor’s program, some students may move on to graduate-level testing in order to qualify for more prestigious master’s level programs in counseling. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a skill assessment required by some schools for acceptance and is used by students to help exhibit their skills and knowledge.
There are many different Master’s in Counseling programs that do not require completion of the GRE for acceptance. Online and traditional programs in this area that have received accreditation from the CACREP could be great options for you to consider for your future career.
The Master’s in Counseling is a 2 or 3 year program that was designed to train future therapeutic professionals in the ethical assessment, treatment, and continued care of patients in the field. This program can consist of in-person training requirements and is followed by a supervised clinical experience.
Near the end of your program, you can choose a setting in which you gain expertise through working with licensed professionals in your treatment area. For around 2 years, you can provide therapeutic services while under the direct supervision of a licensed counselor.
At the end of your supervision, you submit all documentation pertaining to your education, training, and supervision to your state for licensure consideration. Receiving your license can immediately make you eligible for obtaining open counseling positions in the field.
Top Masters in Counseling Programs
- Masters in Counseling
- Online Masters in Counseling
- No GRE MA in Counseling
- Online Master of Arts in Counseling
- Schools with an Online Master of Counseling
- Accelerated MA in Counseling
- Hybrid MA in Counseling
- Dual Masters in Counseling Degrees
- By Online Counseling Program Specialization:
- Online Masters in Behavior Analysis
- Online Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Online Masters in Counseling Psychology
- Online Masters in Mental Health Counseling
- Online Master of Rehabilitation Counseling
- Online Masters in School Counseling
- By Accreditation:
- Online CACREP Accredited Masters Programs
- Online MPCAC Accredited Programs
Important Organizations to Know
Professional organizations in spirituality and counseling can be excellent resources for new and experienced counselors in the field. Joining these organizations at the learner or professional level can help you to expand your knowledge and understanding of your career field and subject yourself to new experiences and professionals with similar values.
Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling
The Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling is a professional organization that seeks to join professionals from all ranks of Spiritual Counseling. This organization can provide resources to professional counselors that integrate spiritual and religious techniques for use in the field, as well as provide members with networking and research opportunities.
American Association of Christian Counselors
The American Association of Christian Counselors is another religious counseling organization to consider when transitioning into this career field. Christian Counselors are prominent within the U.S. and provide care to clients that prefer religious motivation during their emotional growth.
This organization can provide professionals with tools for use in the field, including those that utilize religious concepts, prayer, and biblical guidance during the therapeutic process. Members of this organization can be found all across the country.
American Counseling Association
For generalized counseling knowledge, get-togethers, and national conferences, counselors can join the American Counseling Association. The ACA is one of the largest and most well-known organization for counselors in a wide variety of treatment fields.
Current research, new treatments, and unique perspectives into counseling can be a few of the benefits of joining this organization. Counselors that become members of this organization can also get to know other counselors in their field, general area, or with similar interests during their involvement.
Spiritual Counselor Career Options
Spiritual Counselors can help individuals work through different experiences in their personal lives. Mental illness, trauma, grief and loss, and even stress within their personal lives are just a few of the many reasons why individuals reach out to professionals in this field for guidance.
Using various techniques from religion or spiritual belief systems, counselors can utilize psychotherapy, talk therapy, or group therapy to help people identify their source of struggle and take aim against it.
You can pursue a career as a Spiritual Counselor through counseling agencies within your community, through religious organizations, or even in private practice. Receiving your license as a professional counselor can allow you to provide independent counseling services through your own private practice.
In some cases, Spiritual Counselors can be called in during times of mass illness or devastation within a community to help work with citizens as they heal. Some private schools also employ Spiritual Counselors to help work with students in the school system.
Your dedication to learning in this field can lead you into many unique career opportunities depending on the type of career you are seeking for your lifestyle. Using spiritual techniques, you can assist with increasing the quality of life of your clients.