Online, Professional Quality Relationship / Health / Spiritual Healing and Transformation
Feb 16, 2024

Do You Have Questions about Pastoral Therapy: Here Are Some Answers

When I was young,

I used to admire intelligent people,

as I grow older, I admire kind people.” Abraham Heachel

As the population gets older, there is a pressing need to deal with the fragmentation taking place in our society.  Due to increasing global complexity and economic insecurity and resulting personal/relationship stresses in our society, people are looking for answers and a fast tract to peace.   Gallup has been asking Americans whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with their personal lives since 1979. Gallup found that in the year 2024, personal satisfaction is at an all time low.

A 2024 Gallup Poll   found that less than half of Americans surveyed stated that they were satisfied with their lives.   According to a google search 33% of the population  report being stressed and tired, lonely, anxious and depressed.  There is a vague apprehension (free floating anxiety) that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society.   There are growing suspicions,   we have somehow loss our way.   We are uncertain of our sense of who we are and we are disconnected from  our true purpose and fulfillment.


Pastoral Therapy  has become  more and more accepted as the best source to deal with any existential crisis. It is perfectly suited to deal with personal, relationship, career crises  and address the need to better understand and find greater fulfillment and happiness.  It has continually evolved from the 16 Century focusing primarily religious dogma interpretation to today as a state-of-the-art science with spirituality incorporating the latest behavioral science of psychology, quantum physics and the latest discoveries in principles and techniques in spirituality and mind, body, spirit healing.


In past centuries, science and religion were at best skeptical opposites and could barely tolerate each other. Religious counseling in the past, with its legalistic and dogmatic condemnation of scientific thought, has made the general population leery and uncomfortable and rightfully, skeptical of any kind of benefit of an approach that comes out of religion. However, today there is a vase difference between the religious counseling of the past and the Pastoral Counseling and/or Faith Based Psychotherapy of today.


Today Pastoral Therapy offers an integrated approach from behavior psychology, relationship / family dynamics and spirituality.   It combines  best from science and spirituality to help clients realize optimum  peace of mind and well-being.  It also supports clients also to  a access  their intuitive resources (inner wisdom) to look at life differently and respond to life from a broader, holistic or more authentic view


Pastoral Psychotherapy/Counseling today, has evolved along with science and psychology and operates today as a sophisticated and consolidated, integrative mind, body spirit psychotherapy in the broadest context.


Science and religion and/or spirituality have evolve into a collaborative mutual understanding and consensuses when it comes to providing healing and growth for the public.(1) Newsweek, “Science Finds God”


The general population, however, has not kept up with the evolution of pastoral counseling/ psychotherapy. Many have missed out on the benefits of today’s 21st century pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. There is also confusion today about what constitutes Pastoral Counseling / Psychotherapy and how it compares with traditional secular counseling and psychotherapy.


What is Pastoral Counseling / Pastoral Psychotherapy ?

According to The American Psychological Association, (APA) “Pastoral counseling is centered in theory and research on the interaction of religion and science, spirituality and health, and spiritual direction and psychotherapy.  A pastoral counselor receives advanced training in one or several of the behavioral sciences (often psychology specifically) in addition to religious training, theological training, or both.   Also called pastoral psychotherapy.”


The American Psychological Association, definition of Pastoral Counseling  also reveals “Pastoral Counseling is a form of counseling or psychotherapy in which insights and principles derived from theology and the behavioral sciences are used to help individuals, couples, families, and groups achieve healing and growth.”


While individual pastoral counselors may represent specific religions, the concept and framework of pastoral counseling is not tied to any one religion or faith. Pastoral Counseling, Pastoral Psychotherapy, and Faith Based Therapy/Counseling are all generic forms for the same term.


According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors / The Counseling Center, Pastoral Counseling is a unique form of psychotherapy that combines both psychological and spiritual understanding for healing and growth.


Pastoral counselors psychotherapist  can range from ordained ministers like priests, chaplains, and rabbis to practicing as certified, ordained faith based psychotherapists, like myself, who provide a speciality of faith based counseling and psychotherapy. Pastoral Counselors can also come from any religious background and can be found in multiple settings—congregations counseling centers, inpatient programs, and private practice, among others.


I have studied and practiced many of the religions and philosophies of world including Buddhism, Hinduism and Christian Theology. I have also  spent time  living in a  Hindu monastery.  I  have experienced value and transformation in many paths.  I am Christian by faith but I am not judgmental or legalistic in any way.


The common focus of my practice is on mind, body,

relationship and spiritual integration. 


Pastoral Counseling / Psychotherapy is for anyone who wishes to understand their challenges from a broader perspective and connect to the power of the unseen dimension of life as a healing force, releasing them from limitation and bondage.


Any individual, couple or business professional is welcome to see me especially those who refuses to be confined by self limiting stories or of external influences.   I especially welcome those who wish to see their life and relationships in a broader perspective and are done with  repeated patterns of disappointment, emptiness and disillusionment.



I am Awake

It is said that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha’s extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. The man stopped and asked

Are you a god. No, the Buddha said.

Are you a Teacher, No, replied the Buddha, Are you a man? No answered Buddha, “Then what are you?” the questioner asked.

I am awake,” was the reply.


What Are The Goals Of A Pastoral Therapist


My goals as a Pastoral Therapist are not only to increase your physical, mental emotional well-being but also put it in the context of spiritual wellness.  Spiritual wellness or a lack thereof, can have a significant impact on our  ability to cope with the stressors of life.

Health care professionals are starting to recognize that patients, who have a strong spiritual support, have a tendency to heal faster and better. Even those who are terminally ill are more peaceful about their exit when supported by faith based therapy because they have more of an assurance about their here after.


 There is also increasing research that shows increased spirituality is beneficial for health.   ().    Studies have  also shown that people who have a spiritual belief /experience benefit by lower levels of depression, anxiety and display signs of better health.  These studies demonstrated that spiritual values lead to lowering  blood pressure and improved overall wellness and  functioning. In addition, these studies  demonstrated that, not only having increased awareness of one’s own spirituality demonstrated  lower levels of depression, suicide, and substance misuse but also had a positive impact on subjective wellbeing, health-related quality of life, coping skills, recovering from mental illness and may also guard against PTSD  (posttraumatic stress disorder) and boost psychological growth after a stressful situation.


I support all my clients to learn skills to not only to heal childhood wounds and  remove blocks having success in their relationships and careers but become more conscious and intentional in insuring the quality of their lives by improving their spiritual wellness.


My hope is to strengthen client’s spiritual connection  (integrative values,.)  they will become more secure in their identity and purpose.   I welcome anyone who is receptive and wishes to become more authentically self connected and “wake up ” as the Buddha teaches.  The ultimate goal is help clients become the master instead of disaster in their personal, family, career and spiritual lives.  (See My Testimonies)


Many individuals, especially those who grew up in dysfunctional families,  suffer from miseducation and misperception.    Parents unintentionally neglect, reject or even emotional abuse their children by harsh criticism.


Attachment is the strongest need for children and therefore, these unintended misinterpreted become stories to keep them connected to the family structure despite causing great harm to themselves and their relationships as adults.  Children before the age of 12 are great sensors but poor interpreters of their parents actions.  Children personalize everything,  particularly from past trauma from their own childhood miss-perceptions and unmet needs in childhood. Childhood trauma often results in self-sabotaging beliefs self-fulfilling stories and stuck energy patterns.


Pastoral Therapy not only helps the client to  resolve negative beliefs/feelings of from childhood but also instills more confidence in their ultimate meaning and purpose with the understanding of their existential needs.


My work goes beyond traditional therapy which only looks at what’s wrong with you to discovering the beauty of your authentic self which expresses heart radiance to be a place for Spirit to shine.


The main goal of Pastoral Therapy, like traditional secular counselors, is to help clients correct childhood beliefs and improve coping skills but unlike traditional counseling, it  goes  beyond healing childhood trauma and limiting beliefs to achieve greater connection to spiritual values to return to their Original Wholeness to gain ultimate peace of mind.   Mankind is mainly focus on unsolvable problems which have at their core not knowing their true identify and purpose.


Integration of spiritual values (Understanding Existential Needs)  ie. Peace, Assurance, Gratitude and Love for Optimum Mental Health and Aliveness Thomas Hora, M.D. Existential Metapsychiatry,  as well as others taken from Marshal Rosenberg’s  Nonviolent Communication Teaching including:


Connection. Acceptance, Affection, Clarity, Communication, Confirmation, Compassion, Intimacy, Understanding, Authenticity, Love

Autonomy: Choice Space, Spontaneity, Independence, Freedom of Choice,

Peace:  Beauty, Ease, Seventy, Harmony, Order, Wholeness, Spiritual Communion, Self Connection

Interconnection:  Belonging, Consideration, Community, Cooperation, Dignity, Mutuality, Inter-dependent, Support, Collaboration, Trust

Meaning: Contribution, Creativity, Hope, Inspiration, Purpose, Understanding, Clarity,

Celebration: Joy, Mourning, Play, Honoring,

Competence:  Effectiveness, Efficiency, Growth, Learning, Power With  (vs Power Over /Under)

Honesty:  Authenticity, Integrity, Shared Reality, Truth,

Basic Survival:  Shelter, Food & Water,Rest, Safety, Security,  Touch


My goal, as a therapist, is also to provide my clients practical, easy to learn, concrete skills, they can use right away to resolve conflict on all levels and gain a fast track to peace. Simply put, I help clients to remove barriers to giving and receiving love and realign themselves with their authentic self and reality.


I teach individuals, couples, Parents and Children

how to improve their connection to their authentic self

and increase their compassion for self and other.


All of our programs at our center offer complete healing from the ground up to the spiritual dimension of life to heal and transform all aspects of the human condition.  In addition to studying with Marshal Rosenberg, Ph.D. Nonviolent Communication, I studied for several years under Thomas Hora, M.D. P.C. A recipient of the Karen Horney Award for Outstanding Innovations in Psychiatry. Dr. Hora believe that most of our suffering was due to miss-education and miss-perception of reality.  Through mindfulness and meditation Dr. Hora,  also came to the realization and postulated, that when we are connected to our “Ultimate Source”Original Wholeness, we are un-broken and completely free to give and receive love.  we come into alignment with our Authentic True Selves.


Our Authentic Self is an embodiment of our spirituality as peace, assurance, gratitude and love (PAGL). When you are in PAGL  Dr. Hora writes “all things work for the good and all things are possible.”   I teach my clients the practice of PAGL which is considered optimum mental health in my approach to counseling.


Pastoral Counseling / Psychotherapy, as I practice it, includes the latest evidence based behavior, relationship and success science, including various forms of energy psychology and energy healing principles and techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.  See Spirit Energy Techniques


I also offer advanced communication skills for individuals and couples with the latest Relationships Experts such as Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., Imago Relationship Therapy, Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. Non-Violent Communication, Sue Johnson, Ph.D. Emotionally Focused Therapy and others to help individuals and couples resolve conflict and enrich their relationship. I also teach concrete skills to resolve conflict and improve intimacy.  See Returning To Love . and (see How I Can Help / Couples Counseling).  


What’s the Difference between Religious Counseling

and Pastoral Psychotherapy?


According to the Association for Pastoral Counselors  Pastoral Psychotherapy is very different from religious counseling which is usually provided by religious leaders and may or may not include religious teachings /doctrine. Religious and or Christian Counseling are separate categories with different goals from Pastoral or Faith Based Counseling in that Pastoral therapist  do not promote rigid dogma of any kind.


Pastoral therapist  do not promote rigid dogma of any kind. 


Do I Have To Be Religious To See A Pastoral Therapist?


I would say “no,” but I’m not ever pastoral counselor. In my practice, you do not have to be religious or have any religious affiliation to see me as a therapist. I have non-religious individuals and even atheist participate in my practice and benefit from my counseling. Many have found that because of my practical, solution oriented approach, not only have they resolved their original issues, but they have found deeper meaning and connection to themselves and their own spirituality.


I have over thirty years of experiences and a broad range of skills and treatment methods to successfully resolve any number of issues in therapy. Also because of my integration of behavioral science and spiritual principles and practices, I can offer clients greater insight and gain greater fulfillment with concrete solutions to deal with complicated interpersonal issues of marriage and work relationships.


What are Some Issues Pastoral Therapy Can Resolve?

Pastoral Therapy also offers a unique perspective in that it not only has an in depth understanding of successful relationships and optimum mental health but also how the egoistic mind works for and against itself. Dr. Thomas Hora, M.D. P.C who I trained under has Eleven Principles  The Eight Principles states, “All Problems Are Psychological and All Solutions Are Spiritual.

See Testimonies


Some areas I have been successful with in my practice of pastoral therapy include:

      • Preparing for Marriage or Adjusting to Divorce
      • Marriage Counseling, Enrichment and Conflict Resolution
      • Success Coaching Career issues, Resolving Self Sabotage
      • Childhood Trauma
      • Grieving the Loss of a Loved One
      • Coping with Stress and Symptoms / Illness
      • Understanding The Meaning of Life’s Conflicts and Challenges
      • Reducing Anxiety, Depression and Self Sabotage
      • Handling major life Changes, Times of Transition, or a Life Crisis
      • Parenting Difficulties
      • Processing Difficult or Traumatic Life Events
      • Counseling for Adolescents and for Parents and Families
      • Integrating Faith with Daily Life
      • Improving Self Esteem
      • Strengthening Relationships (including with oneself and with God)
      • Working through conflicts (including a crisis of faith)
      • Spiritual Direction
      • Life Transitions and Other issues

Is There Really A Need For Pastoral Psychotherapy?

 Church participation and attendance has steadily declined since the 1950s . This is especially true among the younger population. In spite of the decline of religion, however, many individuals are seeking help from pastoral therapists. Pastoral therapy  has become popular to spiritually minded individuals  because it can give answers to both secular and spiritual issues.


Ii’s also reported that even though organized religion has been declining , the interest in spirituality has gone up. (Although religion still remains popular among conservatives, study after study has shown that people are leaving organized religion in masses.  T


A  research study (28) published in 2017. More Americans Say They Are Spiritual Than Religious  reveals that there is also a general trend as education increases, the general population leans more toward spirituality than religiosity. The study also reveals that  more individuals “Spiritual but not religious” Americans are more highly educated than the general public. Seven-in-ten (71%) have attended at least some college, including a third (34%) with college degrees.

As a 2018 study explains, spirituality is a broader term referencing experiences or states of being that envelop a person, whereas spiritual health is something one can cultivate or work toward. Spirituality can take a different form for everyone. Spiritual health can apply to any type of spirituality or religion.

While spirituality is a source of potential  strength that everyone can access,  spiritual health is a spectrum on which everyone falls. Because of this, it is much more concrete.

Below are some of the common traits in  spiritually healthy people:

        • Reserved and thoughtful slow to have emotional reactions even to life’s great challenges
        • Ability to recognize own mistakes and take responsibility
        • A healthy ability to feel and express emotions and needs
        • A capacity for deep compassion and empathy for others
        • Sensitive to own needs as well as the needs of others.
        • Daily practices of quiet time with spiritual sanctuary to help process hardships, changes, and emotions
        • An ability to deal with the challenges posed by other humans with kindness and understanding
        • Flexible beliefs that can adjust as needed to new circumstances or information
        • Mindfulness and presence when eating, exercising, working, and enjoying time with loved ones
        • Ability to be aware and present to one own values, appreciations and well as others.
        • The ability to explain one’s inner state to others, if necessary or desired

If you don’t recognize these traits in yourself, that’s what Pastoral Therapy is for. Spiritual Values take time to cultivate.


Dr Jack Finnergan who has written many articles on Pastoral Psychotherapy, shares  in his Personal Reflections, that we all yearn for a transforming connection with the Divine and pastoral therapy is a way to help us find it. Pastoral Therapists like Traditional Therapists help individuals adjust and improve coping skills to better meet needs, however, their ultimate goal is not simply to help the client adjust to societal norms, but to help the client find the peace that passeth understanding or the peace of God or spiritual union.  Pastoral therapist use evidenced based behavioral and psychological principles and methods but also spiritual methods of awareness training and healing such as prayer, meditation, contemplation, existential inquiry, energy psychology, spiritual principles and intuition. Ultimately any method that allows connection with the Divine is useful to the pastoral therapist in supporting the client’s spiritual practice and promote the highest good of the client.


Carl Jung has been quoted as saying in his writings  Modern Man in Search of a Soul “Among all my patients in the second half of life–that is to say, over thirty five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious (spiritual) outlook on life.  Jung was not talking about religious rigid dogma or creeds or even seeking a church membership. He was talking about understanding our essential nature, our spiritual core greater than a limited view of ourselves in daily life. He also defined psycho-neurosis as the suffering of a human being who has not discovered what life is about in the broadest perspective an what life means to him.


As far as the need for Pastoral Therapy,  Thomas More in his book “Care of The Soul,”  states that the major “complaints of our time” include; emptiness, meaninglessness, vague depression, disillusionment about life including unfulfilling marriage, relationships, and a loss of values are all symptoms of loss of Soul (God/Spirit Connection). He states this is a major issue to be resolved and lets us know that spiritual connection is what the Soul craves. The idea of being out of touch with our Soul is indicative of a need for methods to help us find our way home to our spiritual center and original nature.

What Is Pastoral Therapy Today?


Pastoral psychotherapy today has become a credible and viable alternative to traditional mental health therapy. Pastoral Therapy is unique, in that it not only helps the individual cope with day to day challenges, but it can also go beyond daily stress challenges to help the individual come into contact with greater meaning and purpose.


Pastoral therapy unlike traditional secular therapy has the unique task of helping clients improve coping skill by finding fulfillment in the spiritual dimension of existence and provides the client a larger context to heal all of their problems.


Pastoral psychotherapy today is a powerful therapy based on the latest evidence based techniques to promote healing and growth. Pastoral Counseling and psychotherapy today is a major provider of mental health services in this country, accounting for over 3 million hours of treatment annually in both institutional and private settings.  It has become an effective, integrated mind, body, spirit therapeutic approach, which combines the latest research from evidenced, based behavioral sciences and quantum physics along with the latest research from marriage therapy, spiritual psychology and modern spiritual psychology. Pastoral therapy has been shown to be successful in dealing with various physical, emotional, mental, as well as the spiritual challenges facing people today.


Dr Ryan’s sessions are Soul Solution Focused – helping you understand yourself and your issues from the largest context possible and gain the necessary concrete and easy to learn skills you can use right away to resolve conflict and go to the next level.


Contact by text message 949-2501423 or email. [email protected].


I teach people the art and science of wholeness and self empowerment.

I am best known for my intuitive gifts, humor and heart centered style of

sharing relationship healing and spiritual principles that everyone can understand.


Dr. Timothy J. Ryan, Ph.D., D.Div. is the  founder, Director, and lead counselor of AIWP Miracles Ministry a 501 (C-3) Non-profit Charitable, Non-Denominational Religious Organization EIN # 95-3455451 dedicated to removing barriers to love, healing and enriching relationships and promoting conscious and intentional awareness for a more compassionate world

He loves empowering individuals and couples, parents and children to own their true nature with freedom to connect to their highest good and achieve excellence in all areas of their life.

He is a Solution, Soul Focus Therapist who will help you discover concrete skills you can use right away to claim your Best Self,  Best Relationship and Best Life ever.

He offers relevant, evidenced based behavioral science techniques combined with spiritually to help you identify and achieve your goals.

He has taught at numerous colleges, universities, churches and hospitals. I have a wide range of personal and professional experience



      • Bibliography:
      1. Newsweek, “Science Finds God”
      3. American Association for Pastoral Counseling (AAPC), and
      5. Existential Metapsychiatry: Thomas Hora MD … –
      8. Thomas Moore “Care of the Soul” Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and …
      9. Dr Jack Finnergan “Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy: Personal Reflections.
      11. (PARADE Spirituality Poll was conducted by Insight Express among a national online panel of adults ages 18 and over. Surveys were completed by 1,051 respondents from May 8-12, 2009Poll, April 2009,)
      13. Spiritual issues in counseling: Clients’ beliefs and Psychological Association by EM Rose – ‎2008 – ‎Cited by 289 – ‎Related articles Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Vol S(1), Aug 2008, 18-33. … Type: Journal Article; Reprint; Digital Object Identifier:;
      14. Pathways of Light Https://
      16. Help From Above: In Times of Trouble, Growing Numbers of ……
      17. Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.
      18. Quotes by Eckhart Tolle (Author of The Power of Now)
      19. The Decline of American Religion? – The Association of … …/chaves.pd
      20. Decline of Religion – Huffington Post
      21. America’s Changing Religious Landscape | Pew Research Center May 12, 2015 – The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the  share of Americans who do not identify with any organized religion is growing.
      22. The Real Reason Religion Is Declining In America ..…/the-real-reason-.. Psychology Today May 27, 2015 –
      25. . connected-devices
      26. A Course In Miracles, Text, Workbook and Manual
      28. More Americans now say they’re spiritual but not religious