Pastoral counseling is an important
part of your work as a ULC minister. it is legal in every state
for ordained ministers to give religious advise to members of
their congregations, but, religious problems are not the only
ones encountered. Because so many of our ministers had expressed
interest in the field of counseling, the ULC instituted the Soul
Clinic concept ten years ago. A Soul Clinic is a center where
specially trained and licensed ULC ministers do counseling, that
in the broadest sense deal with the problems of the Soul.
S.O.U.L. CLINIC LICENSE--The science
of understanding life, SOUL Clinic course, is a course in psychology.
This course does not entitle you to be a state certified psychologist;
however, it does qualify you as a psychological counselor. This
course consists of twelve lessons and two textbooks, obtainable
at your local library. A SOUL Clinic License is issued upon completion
of the course. This course consists of resources from many fields-Psychology,
Metaphysics, Christianity, Eastern and Western religious writings,
counseling, guidance and practical information-all relating to
the problems of life and how to overcome them. This interesting
course is a must for every active minister and is available for
a minimum donation of $100.00, $55.00 for Active Congregations.
Health problems that are obviously physical
illness or injury should, of course, be referred to a medical
doctor. Even those you think might be neurotic symptoms (headaches,
allergies, etc.) should not be directly treated in the Soul Clinic.
However, you can help a person improve his general health through
preventive measures, that may also help with specific ailments.
For example, you might teach clients yoga or relaxation techniques,
or something about nutrition, since poor diet is a major cause
of poor health. Also, since the health of the body reflects the
condition of the soul, tell them that help with other problems
and tensions will probably also be manifested in better health.
Also, in this area we will consider certain kinds of drug problems.
Soul Clinics should be aware and prepared to encounter them and
to either be able to help or to know where help is available.
Financial problems are of several kinds.
First there are those people who are really down and out, who
can't pay their bills, don't seem to be able to buy enough food
for their families, or at least can't give their children any
toys or even small luxuries. Then, there are people who make a
decent enough living but don't consider themselves successful
be-cause they aren't keeping up with the Jones'; they want a bigger
car, bigger house, more gadgets, or whatever. Finally, there are
those people who have some kind of a goal or dream like buying
a farm, starting a business, opening a school or church, but,
don't seem to be able to get the money to get it off the ground.
In other words, some people need to learn how to make more money
or to spend more wisely, others need to learn how to limit their
desires or do more things for themselves, others need to learn
the secrets of financial success.
Sexual problems will be the hardest
for a person to admit or talk about. From the first description,
fighting too much with wife for example, they might appear to
be marriage problems, since the two are so closely related. Of
course, a person does not have to be married to have sex problems-.
We are not here to moralize or give "Dear Abbey" kinds
of advice. However, sometimes a casual attitude can cause sex
to be unfulfilling or unsatisfying, or a person may be using it
as a substitute for his need to be loved.
Family problems, problems with partners,
parent-child problems, brother and sister problems cover probably
the largest area. The problem may be inharmonious relations, personality
conflicts, or power battles. Sometimes parents don't know how
to keep their child out of trouble, how to teach him self-discipline,
what to say about sex, how to get him to tell the truth. Marriage
partners may mutually exist in an atmosphere of hostility, may
be beginning to think their marriage is a mistake, but, not know
how or be afraid to get out of it. Any member of the family may
feel unloved, unwanted, unappreciated. In most cases, a problem
involving two or more people is their problem and all of them
should be treated together if possible.
Social problems - trouble relating to
society, to the law or the system, not knowing how to talk to
strangers, making friends, feeling lonely and unwanted. They feel
that everyone takes advantage of them, that they can't trust people.
Loneliness is especially a problem for older people, or those
who are divorced or widowed.
Emotional problems may in fact be behind
any of the others, but, sometimes they present themselves more
directly. Inability to control one's temper; irrational fears;
crying easily over the slightest frustration in one's plans. Many
people consider that they just are 'more sensitive' than others
or have 'strong emotions' or that it's because of my horoscope
sign. In other words, they see unstable emotions as something
they were born with, rather than as a habitual behavior pattern
that causes them problems, that can and should be changed.
Work or role problems. So few jobs today
are really satisfying. Work is fragmented, boring, repetitious,
does not make a person feel worthwhile. This is not necessarily
financial. Some people make good money but hate their jobs. Some
highly educated people are so specialized they know nothing about
life outside their field, can't do anything for themselves. This
area also covers women's problems, especially as women become
more conscious of the role that has been imposed on them and become
dissatisfied with household chores and child raising as the only
outlets for their talents. For children and adolescents, problems
in this area deal with school; many are feeling frustrated, feel
it is boring, resort to truancy even though it may mean jail.
Past, guilt, future or anxiety problems.
We can consider these together, as dwelling either in the past
or the future prevents a person from living fully in the present.
A person can learn from his past, of course, and must have goals
and plans for the future.
But, there are people who cannot adjust
to change or to losses and look back on the 'good old days', wishing
that times didn't change. Or they may have regrets or guilt, if
only I had done it differently, constantly going over old tapes
and trying to rewrite them.
Future problems are of two kinds. First,
there are those people who are doing all right now, but, instead
of enjoying it, use their energy worrying about losing their possessions
of loved ones, or if something is going wrong. Or they have problems
in the present and try to escape them by dreaming of the future,
when the children are grown, as soon as my boat comes in, etc.
There are also people with legitimate concerns about the future,
trying to decide on reasonable plans and goals, who need help
or guidance. Often, these concerns overlap the problem of identity.
The problem of identity is one that
not everyone is aware of. Many people go through life, following
the patterns or 'scripts' set up for them by society or their
parents and never ask, 'Who am I? Where am I going? What do I
want to become?' Yet other people, often those with more than
the average self-awareness, are not satisfied with the name-rank-and-serial-number
answers. They find that the many roles they are playing begin
to feel 'phony', or they see many different personalities within
themselves and wonder which one is real. In a sense, these people
are closer to finding and realizing their fullest potential as
human beings than those who do not ask, but, often they have to
go through some very painful and confusing stages in the process,
especially when the people closest to them are unable to understand
or sympathize because they have never gone through it themselves.
Religious problems are the final area
we will consider and may well be the most common problems in many
Soul Clinics. Because many people are finding hypocrisy and contradictions
in the religious teachings of their parents they often react initially
by rejecting religion entirely or switching to a radically different
religion as an act of rebellion. And yet the need to understand
themselves and the universe, and the desire to discover the way
it came into being and especially the fact of death which all
living things face, continues to bring them back to the eternal
religious questions. How to decide which of the many different
and contradictory answers is the truth, How to have faith, What
to do if you don't have it, What is God or is there a God ...
Still other people appear to reject the old teachings, but, retain
feelings of guilt and fear from the moral standards they were
This often creates conflicts between
what seems to be making them happy and what is supposed to make
them happy. Others go from one religious sect to another, searching
for the promises of salvation and joy, but, never satisfied with
what they find. The Soul Clinic can serve a unique function in
this area. Secular psychologists and psychiatrists often are not
sympathetic to these kinds of problems, perhaps because they haven't
tried to figure them out themselves. Most ministers, on the other
hand, treat such problems by trying to indoctrinate the person
into the beliefs of the church they represent. The Soul Clinic
counselor will have studied a wide variety or religious beliefs
and doctrines as well as his own; thus he will be able to see
the unity among them as well as the differences, and can help
people find their own truth.
The attitude of the counselor toward
the client is the most important part of the therapy. The counselor
toward the client is the most important part of the therapy. The
counselor must get involved, care, respect and trust the client
as a person, give 'warm strokes', be loving. The more you can
think of the other person as yourself, get into his shoes, understand
where he is coming from, the more you can help him. This is in
contrast with the traditional psychiatric approach where the therapist
stays aloof and uninvolved.
Most of the persons 'hang-ups ', problems,
and negative emotions are habits he has acquired in his life rather
than inborn characteristics. They can be changed. But, a person
can only change or be helped to change when he admits that he
has a problem and decides that he wants to do something about
it. You cannot help a person who won't help himself.
The most basic decision a person makes
is whether he will be a winner or a loser in life, his self image,
his way of confronting the Universe. A loser isn't aware that
he had decided to be a loser. He might say that he tries but things
always go wrong, that people take advantage of him, etc. He has
good ideas but never seems to be able to manifest them.
We believe that everyone can be a winner
and that you as a ULC pastor can help members of your congregation
or others to overcome their problems.
As Reverend Hensley says, "We are
all born to be kings, but, some of us lose the desire."
A minister might be called upon to help
a person write a will, especially when the testator (the person
who makes the will) wants to donate all or part of his or her
legacy to the church. Therefore, every minister should have some
knowledge of the laws that apply to such donations and the proper
ways to set up and handle a will.
The Universal Life Church offers a course
in American Church Law and Parliamentary Procedure that also includes
basic information on wills. The course, which leads to a Doctorate
of Religious Humanities is available for a minimum donation of
Any property involved in the will should
be accurately described and located. The interest in the property
should also be included, together with the full names and addresses
of the recipients. As executor (a person or corporation appointed
by the testator to carry out the provisions of the will) the testator
should name someone in whom he has the utmost confidence. A good
practice would be to nominate two executors, for example a close
friend or relative who can be trusted. Care should also be taken
in selecting those who are to witness the will, as they may have
to testify in court after the testor's death.
If you, as pastor of the congregation
are called upon to help in writing the will in which your church
is the beneficiary, you cannot sign the will as a witness. It
is generally provided by statute that a bequest to a subscribing
witness shall be void.
The term if undue influence means that
someone induces the testator to dispose of his property in a way
which he would not have done, had he been left free to act according
to his own wishes. if such influence is proved in court, the instrument
will be upset.
However, mere advice, argument or persuasion,
which do not deprive the testator of his mental freedom, are not
considered undue influence. To probate a will means to prove before
some officer or tribunal, authorized by law, that the document
offered is the last will and testament of the deceased person
whose act it is alleged to be; that it has been executed, attested,
and published as required by law, and that the testator was of
sound and disposing mind. In short, when a will is probated its
validity is established. Until a will is duly probated or proved,
courts will not recognize any powers of the one named in the will
as executor, nor anyone claiming under the will such as a devisee
or legatee. Where probate is refused, it is presumed that the
deceased died intestate (without a will).
As to the testator's capacity, he must
in the language of the law, have a sound and disposing mind and
memory. In other words, he ought to be capable of making his will
with an understanding of the nature of the business in which he
is engaged, etc. This does not mean that he should be able to
view his will with the eye of a lawyer. It is sufficient if he
understands the elements of the will and the disposition of his
property in its simple forms.