Kurt A. Stevens
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: A Comparative Study of the Counseling Practices
of Bachelor-Level and Master-Level Wesleyan Pastors
Dr. Karen R. Blaisure, Chair
Dr. Gary Bischof
Dr. Robert G. Perra
May 10, 2002 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
3210 Sangen Hall Merze Tate Conference Room
Little is known about the counseling practices of Wesleyan
ministers. The primary goal of this study was to provide a detailed
description of what pastoral counseling consists of for Wesleyan pastors.
The study examined the most common and most troubling counseling issues,
the extent to which pastors felt qualified and comfortable providing
pastoral counseling, the ability of pastors to counsel parishioners
presenting with various issues (e.g., divorce, death, abuse, parenting),
the timing of referrals and to whom referred, the number of parishioners
currently counseling, the location and time of counseling sessions,
and the number of counseling courses taken and perceived usefulness
of these courses.
The secondary focus of this study was to compare the practices of Wesleyan
pastors with bachelor's degrees and those with master's degrees.
Mean scores showed no significant difference between the groups' ratings
of their qualifications and comfort in providing pastoral counsel. Similar
results occurred regarding level of comfort and qualification to provide
pastoral care: no statistically significant difference was revealed.
The typical Wesleyan pastor in this sample was a 47-year-old, male Senior
Pastor. He was ordained, and had been a ministerial 17.8 years, more
than 6 years in his current position. He was a college graduate, with
a Bachelor's Degree. During college, he took approximately 2 counseling
The typical Wesleyan pastor spent 3.82 hours (9.1% of his working hours)
in counseling each week. He was currently counseling less than 3 parishioners,
addressing faith questions; marital issues; medical illness/health concerns;
general individual issues; and family issues. The most troubling problems
he faced in counseling were abuse and neglect; marital issues; sexual
issues; and divorce.
The average pastor counseled in his church office and/or his parishioners'
homes, and commonly met with them on weekdays, from 8:00 am to 5:00
pm; or evenings after 5:00 pm. Of all pastoral tasks he performed on
a regular basis, counseling ranked number 5 of 6.
While many of the ministers in this study felt somewhat inadequate to
effectively meet the counseling demands of their parishioners, they
were committed to helping their congregants best as they can.
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