Spiritual direction deals with our relationship with God and a life of prayer while pastoral counseling deals with emotional problems and adjustment difficulties like marriage problems, family problems, work related stress, depression and mid-life crisis.
Spiritual direction is a relationship between three persons: the Holy Spirit, the director, and the directee. The main topic of spiritual direction is God’s movement in the directee. The aim of spiritual direction is to help guide the directee to purposefully, consistently grow in their relationship with God and neighbor by discovering God’s presence and embracing his will through the fruitful practice of prayer and right living. The ultimate end of spiritual direction is, as Jesus commanded, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-31). It really is that simple.
Pastoral care is the ministry of care and counseling provided by pastors. This can range anywhere from home visitation to more formal counseling. Pastoral care is also a term applied where people offer help and caring to others in their church or wider community. Pastoral care in this sense can be applied to listening, supporting, encouraging and befriending.