Pastoral Counseling Workshop

The O.T.O. Psychology Guild has developed a Pastoral Counseling Workshop (PCW) to train clergy and OTO members in basic counseling knowledge and skills. 

We approached the development of the PCW from a pragmatic point of view.  That is, we were cognizant that those serving as E.G.C. clergy and as O.T.O. body masters are already in the position of being viewed by local members as sources of guidance and aid. Anyone in such a position of leadership will eventually be approached for such aid—as a trusted senior in the Order, as a visible symbol of spiritual authority, or simply as someone who seems to know a little bit more about what’s going on in the group!  Accordingly, it is in the interests of the Order and the E.G.C.  to fortify our local leaders with the basic information and training necessary to serve in these roles.

These are the guidelines for individuals engaging in pastoral counseling in the context of OTO and give a sense of the purpose of PCW:

  1. We DO listen attentively,  and give feedback, comfort and support
  2. We DO provide spiritual guidance within a Thelemic context, while being respectful of our members’ autonomy and self-determination.
  3. We DO provide resources for referrals beyond the scope of our pastoral counseling  duties
  4. We do NOT provide psychological assessment and diagnosis
  5. We do NOT provide professional emergency services
 One of the most common concerns about the Pastoral Counseling workshops (hereafter “PCW”) has been that it is impossible to train someone to be a fully-fledged pastoral counselor in a weekend.  This is a completely valid concern.  These workshops emphatically do not qualify attendees to function as professional counselors of any sort. Professional pastoral counseling accrediting agencies require graduate degrees in Divinity, or similar fields, with prior licensing/credentialing for independent therapy practice.  These qualifications are obviously far beyond our present training.  
Topics of the Pastoral Counseling Workshop include:
  1. Basic counseling skills and techniques of intervention
  2. The basics of Family Dynamics and related social/psychological theories, as applied to Thelemic communities
  3. Ethical and legal issues in Thelemic pastoral counseling
  4. Psychiatric diagnosic categories, and basic approaches to assessment of mental illness and chemical dependency issues
  5. Tools for working with Crisis Intervention, Grief Counseling, Conflict Resolution, and Sexuality issues
  6. Training in the use of appropriate referrals to outside sources of assistance
 To qualify for attendance at the Pastoral Counseling workshop, a member must be at least Ist degree (I°) in good standing.

If you are interested in hosting or attending a Pastoral Counseling Workshop in your area, please contact the Psychology Guild:

Email:  Pastoral Counseling Workshops

NOTE: Much of the past volumes of Neshamah consists of articles drawn from the workshop, and addressing many of the key content areas presented in a live context.  While the materials presented in Neshamah certainly do not replace the experience of attending a live workshop, it is hoped that they will serve as a valuable resource for those who have not yet had a chance to attend.  Additionally, for those who have already attended, the articles may be useful to have on hand as a summary of much of the material.