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2021 Pastoral Counsellors Network

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Equipping Christian counsellors with a biblical worldview

The European Pastoral Counsellors Network is for leaders involved in pastoral care or personal discipleship ministries. The Network will focus on common pastoral issues with the aim of building basic counselling skills grounded in a biblical understanding of, and approach to, the human heart. This year’s programme focuses on the character and spiritual life of the counsellor, understanding how to truly care for those who experience evil and suffering, discipling the whole person, the power of the relationship in counselling, and other topics relevant to those involved in pastoral care and discipleship.

Applicants should be leaders involved in pastoral care or personal discipleship ministries. The Network will focus on common pastoral issues, with the aim of building basic pastoral skills grounded in a biblical understanding and approach to the human heart.

Network Leadership

Jelena Sivulka hails from Serbia, where she was born and raised. She obtained her master's degrees in psychology and theology from her homeland. Thirty years ago, she embraced Christianity, igniting a passion for ministry alongside her husband Greg. Together, they have been instrumental in… Read more

Network Speakers

Eric L. Johnson is professor of Christian Psychology at Houston Baptist University, serving in the Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology & Counseling. He taught psychology for 10 years at University of Northwestern and counseling for 17 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In… Read more

Diane Langberg is globally recognized for her 47 years of clinical work with trauma victims. She has trained caregivers on six continents in responding to trauma and to the abuse of power. She also directs her own counseling practice in Jenkintown, PA, Diane Langberg, Ph.D. & Associates,… Read more

Pablo was a European Leadership Forum Steering Committee member for more than 10 years. He currently works as a psychiatrist at a private practice in Barcelona. He has also developed an extensive itinerant ministry as a… Read more

Network Programme

Sunday, 16 May

This presentation will consider some of the necessary components of Christian counseling. Broadly, we need an understanding of who God is, what it means to be human, and how those two factors relate. We need a clear and deep understanding of evil and suffering, how they injure human beings, and what care for them and health truly look like. One of the foundational aspects of our study and our work should be that both the work of counseling and the person of the therapist are transformed. The character of the therapist matters profoundly. Knowledge, skill, and interventions are needed, but those necessary components must be present in one who bears a likeness to Christ. (Joint session with the Professional Counsellors Network)

Discipleship is much more than an intellectual exercise – this session looks at discipleship in how the truth and love of Christ redeems thought, decisions, feelings, and interpersonal relationships. Growth into Christlikeness is a privilege and a duty of every Christian.

Monday, 17 May

The character of the mind of our God should inform our thinking, our living, and our caregiving. The mind of our God came in the flesh so we could see and understand who he is and who he would have us be, first in our own hearts and lives, and second, as we enter into the lives of suffering humanity. Full of compassion, he bent down and walked at our pace. He became little. He slowed way down and sat with us in this “room” called earth. He became like us so we could become like him. (Joint session with the Professional Counsellors Network)

What are the best techniques in counselling? How can I learn the practice of therapeutic techniques? These are the most frequent questions asked by beginners. They are eager to learn counseling techniques. Nevertheless they soon discover that the most therapeutic tool is not a good technique, but a good relationship. Indeed, the client’s relationship to the counsellor contains the most powerful forces in the therapeutic process. Change always occurs in the context of a good interpersonal relationship. The techniques you use are of secondary importance compared to your personality and your capacity to be empathic and establish a warm relationship. Here lies the core of all therapy.

Tuesday, 18 May

How do we work with suffering, sin, evil, and darkness – dealing with all of these personally as well as in those who ask us for help – and not become utterly contaminated, looking for care in all the wrong places? We will consider ten characteristics of caregiving, how they can do damage to us, and what the antidotes of our Lord look like. (Joint session with the Professional Counsellors Network)

Human functioning can be disordered biologically, psychosocially, ethically, and spiritually. Therefore, a comprehensive Christian model of psychospiritual problems will take into account Christian teachings on sin, suffering, and weakness in order to address them in light of all of their complexity. Implications for pastoral care, including referral, will be discussed.

Wednesday, 19 May

This topic – not often discussed – is absolutely essential to our work and our lives. We are creatures capable of bearing an image. We are malleable – shaped by what we saturate in. We are shaped by our own histories. We are altered by the histories of those with whom we work. Our clients are shaped by our presence in their lives. Our lives need to be lived and continually changed by a growing understanding of the Cross which leads to worship, by living in the truth, ongoing study of God and of people, the discipline of prayer, and finally ongoing obedience to God as He teaches me, exposes me, and challenges me. We cannot bring life to others unless the light of life of Jesus Christ continually flows through our own lives. (Joint session with the Professional Counsellors Network)

Where are the wise, loving Christian sages in the church today? Over the centuries the Christian community has developed a number of models of spiritual development in adulthood. We will take a constructively critical look at some of the most important and consider how spiritual maturity can be promoted in the local church.