What is Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Topics: Counseling Programs

Published on: 2/3/22 12:18 PM

What is Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

As a future counselor, it's crucial that you choose a graduate program that's going to prepare you to care for clients from an integrated and spiritual perspective.

What does this mean exactly? 

It means that to be an effective clinical mental health counselor, you need to have the skills and knowledge to approach client care holistically. No matter your personal beliefs or spiritual practices, you must obtain a graduate degree that's going to allow you to approach clinical care in a way that addresses the connection between mind, body, and spirit — a graduate degree like clinical mental health counseling that's rooted in pastoral and holistic methods. What is pastoral clinical mental health counseling?

Let's define it and then dive into Neumann University's own Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling — a unique graduate program for mission-minded, future mental health professionals. 

For future counselors looking to integrate spirituality within clinical  counseling practice, A Guide to Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a  must-read! 

Pastoral counseling vs clinical counseling?

Does pastoral clinical mental health counseling differ from traditional clinical mental health counseling?

The American Counseling Association defines counseling “as a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” With this in mind, it is important to understand how pastoral clinical mental health counseling is a unique part of the discipline of clinical mental health counseling. 

Students pursuing a master's in clinical mental health counseling at Neumann receive the same training and instruction as other clinical mental health counselors, but they integrate a pastoral perspective into every part of who they are and what they do. This integration of spirituality allows pastoral counselors to care for their clients from a holistic and integrated perspective, acknowledging the connection between the body, mind, and spirit.

In short, a clinical mental health counseling graduate degree prepares mental health professionals to approach clinical practice holistically, allowing counselors to effectively care for clients with their spirituality in mind.

Neumann’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Neumann University’s CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling takes a holistic approach to mental health counseling, which affirms the active and ongoing interrelationship among clinical experience, spiritual reality, and mental health outreach.

A practitioner-based program, graduates of the program are prepared to be counselors who integrate psychology and spirituality in a rigorous, informed, and clinically responsible way. The program welcomes people of all beliefs and spiritual practices.

Neumann University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is 60 credits and offers weeknight courses. This allows flexibility for the working professionals and students in the clinical sequence of the program. 

Pro Tip: When researching clinical mental health counseling programs, it's important to choose a graduate program that is CACREP accredited. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an organization that accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling throughout the United States. Download our Clinical Mental Health Counseling Guide to learn more about choosing the right program for you.


Students who choose to pursue a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Neumann University will be prepared for a career in clinical practice in a variety of settings. A highly flexible degree, Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers graduates the opportunity to work in environments like:

  • Mental health agencies
  • Private practice
  • Faith-based counseling organizations
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Other health institutions
  • Nonprofits
  • Government programs

Upon completion of the master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, graduates will be prepared to engage in ethical and effective clinical practice. Through their coursework and hands-on learning experiences, students will also fulfill the following program outcomes:

  • Be equipped to integrate psychology and spirituality in an academically rigorous, clinically responsible manner
  • Meet the demands of a modern, global society
  • Meet course requirements for professional licensure in the tri-state area of PA-NJ-DE, including National Counselor Exam (NCE)

Pro Tip: In addition to coursework, it’s important to pick a graduate program that provides hands-on learning opportunities. It's important that you choose a program that emphasizes experiential, practitioner-based learning. Neumann's Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate degree integrates practitioner-based experiences throughout the coursework to best equip graduates to engage in effective client care.

Connect with Us at Neumann University!

The need for passionate and service-oriented clinical mental health counselors is evident. These individuals must be highly qualified and expertly trained in order to meet the needs of the present day and in order to anticipate the challenges of the future.

If you feel the call to transform your future with this degree, we invite you to request more information or begin an application online


As an aspiring mental health professional, it's important that you pick the program that's right for you.

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Download A Guide to Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Neumann University today!

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Bettsy McKlaine

 Bettsy McKlaine

About The Author: Bettsy McKlaine is the Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Degree Completion & Graduate Programs at Neumann University and a proud Alumna. The Neumann Community has become her second family and she loves to interact with students, both from the undergraduate and graduate population. Her favorite time of year is at the start of each semester as students begin classes!


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