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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Community Care and Counseling

Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/06/2020

Course Description

This course introduces students to a solution-based model for short-term counseling that incorporates knowledge of and practice in facilitation skills, cognitive behavioral approaches, and biblical teaching.





In today’s world, people in our churches and in society at large are hurting. As people go outside their own families for help, 40% of Americans turn to a local clergy person first. Therefore, leaders in ministry need to be thoroughly equipped for the work of the counseling ministry. Since counseling should not be the primary ministry of pastors, it is imperative that what they do in counseling is done with efficiency and effectiveness.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Employ appropriate technology, meaningful interaction, and content from the readings, assessments, lectures, and pertinent research according to current APA or Turabian guidelines to support a collaborative, cumulative learning process.
  2. Evaluate his/her relational style’s strengths and shortcomings in order to facilitate alignment between various styles and behavioral positions.
  3. Identify necessary interpersonal and pastoral counseling skills that foster efficiency and effectiveness in pastoral counseling.
  4. Integrate insights and skills, gleaned from the assigned readings, assessments, lectures, web resources, and the Scriptures as s/he narrates movement of a predetermined care-seeker through a solution-based, short-term pastoral counseling scenario.
  5. Locate resources that support future people-helpers’ personal and professional growth and development.


Course Resources

Required Resource Purchases

Carbonell, M. (2008). How to solve the people puzzle: Understanding personality patterns. Blue Ridge, GA: Uniquely You Resources. (Carbonell VitalSource edition). [MBS# 001878948 Note: this is a MBS e-book purchase.]  Do not take the assessment until instructions are provided in Week 3 through the Solving My People assignment.

Clinton, T., & Hawkins, R. (2009). The quick-reference guide to biblical counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN: 9780801072253.

Kollar, C. A. (2011). Solution-focused pastoral counseling (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN: 9780310329299.

Leadership online profile professional expanded (Uniquely You Resources: Carbonell Assessment). [MBS# 1879478. Note: this assessment is included in the MBS online assessment purchase.]

Do not take the assessment until instructions are provided in Week/Module 3 through the Solving My People Puzzle assignment.

Nichols, K. (2017). Masterpiece: Seeing yourself as God’s work of art changes everything! Forest, VA: ALIVE Ministries. ISBN: 9780997682861.

Petersen, J. C. (2015). Why don’t we listen better? Communicating & connecting in relationships (2nd ed.). Portland, OR: Petersen Publications. ISBN: 9780979155956.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with that required by state licensing boards in the class subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Recommended Resources

June, L. N., and Black, S. D. (2011). Counseling for seemingly impossible problems: A biblical perspective. Nashville, TN: Zondervan. ISBN: 9780310278436.

Johnson, W. B., (2014). Minister's guide to psychological disorders and treatments (2nd ed.). Routledge, NY. ISBN: 9780415712453.

Scott, S., and Lambert, H., (2015). Counseling the hard cases: True stories illustrating the sufficiency of God's resources in scripture. B&H Publishing Group. ISBN: 9781433685798.

Additional Materials for Learning 

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office 360

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Textbook readings, assessments, web-engagements, and lecture presentations/notes. It would be wise to back up course work on an external source. If your computer crashes, it is next to impossible to rebuild lost files. Unless otherwise stated, all assignments must be submitted through Blackboard. Do not submit assignments through email unless requested by Professor.  Only email ending in “…” will receive a response. See Course Schedule for more details.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus, Course Schedule, Guidelines & Expectations, and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

A.S.A.P. (All Students Actively Participating) Checklist.

This checklist is designed to initiate a connected, collaborative, cumulative learning experience in Week 1. Students check boxes after the following tasks are completed: 1) subscription to Question & Answer Center; 2) completion of an audio/video Class Introduction (via audio/video software of your choice); 3) completion of Week 1 Readings and short answer questions in Masterpiece; 4) completion of “My Masterpiece Moment”; and 5) selection of a predetermined care-seeker from the course’s case study. Specific instructions are provided in the assignment instructions’ folder of the course.  (MLO: A, C)

Meaning-Making Forums (5)

Meaning-Making Forums provide opportunities to integrate insights and skills gleaned from the assigned readings, assessments, lectures, web resources, and the Scriptures as the student narrates movement of a predetermined care-seeker through a solution-based, short-term pastoral counseling scenario.

Due to the nature of these connected, collaborative, cumulative research-based forums, the meaning-making forums will have a “paper or presentation-like feel” (i.e. more is expected than in a typical discussion-based forum). Required texts, assessments, and lectures are to be noticeably and consistently used to ground assertions. In this respect, the student must synthesize pertinent material and write a substantive research-based thread and reply in response to prompts in each forum.

Each thread must be at least 450 words and noticeably integrate at least 1 pertinent insight from each required resource~readings-to-date (see Course Schedule). Pertinent material should be synthesized weekly and moved forward into subsequent learning activities. In the same week/module, the student writes a substantive research-based reply via the forum’s QUOTE feature to 1 other classmate’s thread. Each reply must noticeably integrate (i.e., cite) at least 1 pertinent insight from course related knowledge and be at least 150 words.

Abridged APA parenthetical citations or abridged Turabian Form may be used for required resources~readings-to-date (see Course Schedule). Complete documentation must be used for secondary resources. All posts must be written with clarity and conciseness, without spelling, grammar, word choice errors, and adhere to meaning-making forum guidelines and rubric. Specific instructions are provided in the assignment instructions’ folder of the course (Meaning-Making Forum Guidelines and Meaning-Making Forum Rubric).  See Course Schedule for due dates. (MLO: A-E)

Practical Book Review (1)

The student will write 1 Practical Book Review on the Petersen text. This assignment creates awareness of language and interpersonal skills that foster efficiency and effectiveness in people-helping moments. The body of  the paper must be typed with 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-space, and at least 6 pages. Use of current APA format or Turabian Form, correct grammar, and correct spelling is required.  Specific instructions are provided in the assignment instructions’ folder of the course.  See Course Schedule for due dates. (MLO: C)

Solving My People Puzzle

The assignment strategically fosters description, development, and management of the student’s relational style as well as an overall understanding of style alignment. The student will write a paper in current APA format or Turabian Form. The paper must be at least 5 pages and include at least 1 reference from each of the assignment’s required readings, assessments, and websites. Specific instructions are provided in the assignment instructions’ folder of the course.  (MLO: A, B, C)


Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


A.S.A.P. Checklist


Practical Book Review


Meaning-Making Forums (5 at 125 pts ea.)


Solving My People Puzzle




Course Policies

Professional Communication

Please be professional in your email communication. We live in a fast-paced world with text messaging which encourages short and abbreviated communication. However, since you are in a counseling program, you are encouraged and expected to use full sentences and good grammar when communicating with other students and faculty. It is also an expectation that your electronic communication is pleasing to God. Being courteous and polite to peers and professors demonstrates dignity and respect, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (Luke 6:31, ESV).

Dual Relationship

The faculty is responsible to interact with counseling students in a supervisory capacity/role. As such, faculty may provide students professional principles, guidance, and recommendations as it relates to the context of the student-client setting. The faculty is responsible to avoid dual relationships with students such as entering a student-counselor or student-pastor relationship. Thus, the faculty does not provide personal counseling addressing student personal problems. If a faculty member perceives that a student is in need of personal or professional counseling, then that faculty member will recommend that the student pursue either pastoral or professional assistance from a counselor in their community.

Limits of Confidentiality

In the event of a student’s disclosure, either verbally or in writing, of threat of serious or foreseeable harm to self or others, abuse or neglect of a minor, elderly or disabled person, or current involvement in criminal activity, the faculty, staff, administrator, or supervisor will take immediate action. This action may include, but is not limited to, immediate notification of appropriate state law enforcement or social services personnel, emergency contacts, and notification of the appropriate program chair or online dean. The incident and action taken will become part of the student’s permanent record.


Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


PACO 500

Textbooks: Carbonell, How to Solve the People Puzzle (2015).

Clinton & Hawkins, The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling (2009).

Kollar, Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling (2011).

Nichols, Masterpiece (2017)

Petersen, Why Don’t We Listen Better? (2015).


Reading & Study





Nichols: entire/complete short answers

2 presentations

Lecture note: Case Study

2 websites

Course Requirements Checklist/W

A.S.A.P. Checklist/S





Petersen: entire/take careful notes

Kollar: preface-Part 1, ch. 19/take careful notes

2 presentations

Practical Book Review: Petersen/S





Carbonell: ch. 1/skim chs applicable to DISC report

Kollar: Part 2

2 presentations

Lecture note: SbStPC Handout

Solving My People Puzzle/S




Kollar: Part 3 (chs. 15-18)

Clinton & Hawkins: Intro (pp. 7-11); Issues: Anger, Death, Forgiveness, Grief & Loss, Suicide

3 presentations

Lecture note: SbStPC Handout

MMF 1: Thread/F; Reply/S




2 presentations

Lecture note: SbStPC Handout

1 article

MMF 2: Thread/F; Reply/S




2 presentations

Lecture note: SbStPC Handout

MMF 3: Thread/F; Reply/S




1 presentation

Lecture note: SbStPC Handout

MMF 4: Thread/F; Reply/S




Kollar: Ch. 20

1 presentation

MMF 5: Thread/W; Reply/F




Weekday Abbreviations: S, M, T, W, TR, F, SA; SbStPC: Solution-based, Short-term Pastoral Counseling; A.S.A.P. = All Students Actively Participating; MMF: Meaning-Making Forum; QAC = Question & Answer Center

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday. Make note that Friday is the hard date for Week 8 assignments. Final Grades will be posted within 5 days of term ending.