What is Pastoral Care?

The physiological aspect of healing is connected to the body’s five senses.

Medical and therapeutic healing is rooted in the understanding of these five senses. That is why I call this “sensual” wisdom. This wisdom is limited to only the five senses and the world-view is materialistic.

I’ve been involved with pastoral care for more than 30 years. I always looked at my work as supplemental to doctors and therapists. Pastoral care is not in opposition to the medical model of care. It is actually a part of that model.

Recently, I’ve been challenged to explain the relevancy of pastoral care in a medical environment. It has been a thought-provoking challenge!

My belief system of human composition is rooted in ancient scriptures. One text in particular sparked a 3 year research into soul healing:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wholeness for a human being is manifested by peace. This peace is demonstrated by a readiness for future events. The holistic balance is not just between body and soul, i.e. medicine and therapy; it is inclusive of one’s spirit.

A person’s spirit is just as much in need of ministry as the body and soul. That is why the New Zealand Ministry of Health endorses holistic care: care that incorporates both body and spirit. Care givers that specialize in spiritual care are called pastoral care workers.

Instead of sensual wisdom, pastoral caregivers use spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is the understanding of how one’s spirit interacts with its physiology.

According to the University of Canberra’s website, pastoral care workers are trained to minister among “the elements that make up a person’s sense of self, his/hers inner resources, resilience and capacity to cope”.

The inner world may be invisible to the five senses, but it is still experienced. Because the sensation of an inner world is not experienced by sight, taste, sound, touch or smell, it requires a “sixth sense”.

Persons are able to perceive something different than the five physical senses. Pastoral care professionals encourage individuals in the science of reception. Reception is all about perceiving the inner world—that reality that exists outside of the five senses.

It has been my experience that care for the inner world of an individual affects their physiology, providing comfort and peace not experienced with medicine or therapy alone.

Author: A Sojourner's Diary

Dr Timothy Rose is a long-term student of ancient writings seeking practical wisdom for the life journey under the sun.

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