Graduate Studies

M.S. in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling



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Many people have posed very insightful questions about the field 
of pastoral counseling. We invite you to read some of these answers listed below and to contact us at any time should you have further questions.


What is pastoral counseling?

In answering that question for a group of students, Orlo Strunk, Jr., one of the great scholars in this field, responds, “Pastoral counseling is as old as the church and as new as the birth of psychoanalysis.” This seeming paradox stems from the integration that lies at the heart of pastoral counseling. Pastoral counseling is a process in which the person of the pastoral counselor fuses spiritual insights, reflective methods and theological principles with the techniques, theories and approaches of psychology to help individuals, families and even groups move toward wholeness, health and spiritual balance.


What exactly is the Master’s of Science in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered by Neumann University?

Founded in 1982, the Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling 60-credit graduate program actively integrates psychology and spirituality in an ecumenical learning community. As taught in the Neumann University model, the program trains the student to see the sacred in ordinary experience. Combining coursework and clinical practice, the program employs a holistic approach that attends to body, mind, spirit, and cultural context. Course work provides both essential clinical theory and training with reflective approaches based in experience-based theological and spiritual studies. This graduate program meets the academic requirements for certification by the National Board of Certified Counselors (the credential board for licensure) as well as the degree requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in most states. Completion of the degree also provides the basics needed for member status in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.


Who would benefit by earning an M.S. in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Neumann University?

Those who wish to work as pastoral counselors or pastoral therapists in clinical settings are well-trained at the completion of the degree to begin work with individuals, groups, and even systems. Graduates from this program have gone on to work in many areas, including among others: clinical agencies, group practices, individual practices, geriatric, school and hospital settings. Many combine the Pastoral Counseling degree with ministerial training to help persons with serious emotional, relational and spiritual problems in parish, congregational, youth, and other community settings. Anywhere a professional counselor can serve, a degreed Pastoral Counselor for Neumann can serve – with a spiritual plus.


What is the difference with the program you call the Certificate of Advanced Study in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CAS)?

The certificate program is designed for students with one of two major goals  The first group includes students who have already secured a degree in a strictly clinical area of practice (as in social work, psychologist, guidance counselor, geriatric specialist) and now wish to add spiritual understanding and integration to their counseling skills. The second type of student is the one who, having acquired training in ministry, looks for more clinical training to help develop those one-on-one and group skills. Persons who have utilized the certificate in this way include diocesan deacons, clergy from many denominations, hospice workers, hospital chaplains, parish ministers and child service workers.


For more information, please call the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 610-361-5208 or (800) 9-NEUMANN, ext. 5208, or feel free to e-mail us at