Pastoral Counseling Ministry


Pastoral Counseling at Park Avenue

As many of you know, Dane Boruff is in his final year of graduate school at Asbury Theological Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral counseling. We are pleased to announce that we will now be able to provide counseling services to all those who regularly attend our church. Dane is in the practicum phase of his schooling. This means that he is partnering with Jeff Bickers, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience, to provide co-counseling services to our church for free! These sessions are completely confidential, and they have the potential to be a great benefit to you and your family. If you are interested in receiving counseling, or you would like more information, please reach out to Dane at, or call the Church Office at (229) 242-3562.
Pastoral Counseling Intake Form
Pastoral Counseling General Description:
  • One of the main goals of a leader in the church is to help people become mature followers of Christ. What is often neglected is the fact that we cannot be spiritually mature if we are emotionally immature. We cannot be spiritually healthy if we are mentally unhealthy. That problem is what a pastoral counseling ministry addresses.
  • A trained pastoral counselor can aid in the following areas:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Grief Counseling
    • Pre-marital Counseling
    • Marital Counseling
    • Counseling of Children
    • Family Counseling
    • Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Anger Management
    • Career / Life Decision Counseling
    • Significant Questions of Faith
    • First-line Crisis Counseling
    • Suicide Assessment and Intervention
  • The goal of Park Avenue’s counseling ministry will be to assist people in some of the most difficult times in their lives by providing a listening ear, a calming presence, helpful resources, and a sense direction informed by biblical wisdom. Pastoral counselors are fully trained in the most current clinical mental health theories and techniques, while maintaining the Word of God as the ultimate authority in our lives.

Theories and techniques that Dane is personally trained and proficient in:
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
    • Attachment Theory
    • Family Systems Theory
    • Crisis Intervention Strategies
    • Suicide Assessment
    • Counseling Microskills and Techniques

What makes counseling “pastoral”?
    • Prayerful trialogue
      • A recognition that the Holy Spirit is the one true Healer. Therefore, the counselor acts only as a vessel through which the Spirit operates
    • Unashamedly based in theology and Biblical study as well as current counseling theories
    • Reliance on church community
      • The fellowship, and community, of the church are often used as a resource to assist in a person’s healing

Format of Counseling Ministry:
    • Counseling sessions are by appointment only.
      • Sessions last between 45 minutes – 1 hour
      • Sessions can be one-on-one, or couples/families as a unit
        • Typically, in marriage or family counseling, it is good to have a mix of one-on-one and group sessions
      • Sessions are confidential unless the counselor is informed of instances of abuse, or an intent to harm oneself or others
    • There will be a security camera in the room to ensure the safety of both the counselor and the client, but there will be no audio recording
    • Detail case notes will be kept for each client. These notes are confidential and are only for the use of the counselor in creating and implementing a treatment plan for the client. The confidentiality of these notes may only be broken by a Subpoena for the Production of Documents by a court.

Ethical Issues:
    • The main ethical dilemma in pastoral counseling is that of “dual relationships”. Typically, and counselor is to have minimal outside relationship with their client. This protects the counseling relationship. This is not possible in pastoral counseling due to the preexisting relationship inherent in being members of the same church.
      • To compensate for this issue, the counselor informs the client of this dilemma at the first session. The counselor also details what the counseling relationship will look like and the boundaries that will be placed on it.
        • For example, if a person had little social contact with the counselor before the relationship began, they will continue to have little contact outside of the counseling relationship. Essentially, the expectation is set that the counselor will act as if this relationship does not exist outside of the counseling room. The counselor will never ask for updates on the client outside of the counseling room, and the client will never receive treatment or advice outside of that room. This maintains the separation of relationship, it and allows both the client and counselor to remain comfortable in their church setting.
      • Confidentiality is paramount to the counseling relationship. No person is privy to the information discussed in the counseling session other than the client and the counselor. There are only a few exceptions to this confidentiality. Those exceptions are listed below:
        • The counselor becomes aware of a client’s plan to harm themselves
        • The counselor becomes aware of a client’s plan to harm another person
        • The counselor becomes aware of abuse relating to a minor, an elderly person, or an otherwise vulnerable population
        • The records of a client are subpoenaed by a court of law (this is often limited in nature)