Dr. Scott Hamilton is Lecturer in Pastoral Counseling at Yellowstone Theological Institute. He lives in Nocona, Texas with his wife Rebecca, is a father of two, and enjoys riding road bikes, running, and hiking in his spare time.
Can you describe a little of your theological background?
My folks raised me in a Baptist church where I made a profession of faith at 6 years of age. I committed myself to ministry around age 15 but managed to lose my way just before graduating high school. After a semester of college, I joined the United States Navy, consciously aware I was running from God. I spent 10 years trying to get to Tarshish (see Jonah), but never made it. After recommitting myself to ministry, I earned a BA in Christian Religious Education from Howard Payne, a Master of Divinity from George W. Truett seminary at Baylor, a Master of Theology degree from Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Counseling Psychology from Walden University.
I have done ministry work in Baptist and Disciples of Christ congregations, completing two interims. Currently, I lead a formal men’s Bible study, and teach general psychology and human growth and development at Vernon College.
The majority of my therapeutic experience is with psychological assessment and diagnostics; yet, I do see clients as a pastoral counselor (certified with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors). I’m currently studying for the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology, to earn my licensure as a clinical psychologist.
How do you see the vision of YTI?
I understand the vision of YTI to be the hopeful establishment of a deliberate dialogue among people of diverse spiritual perspectives, including Christians of various traditions. There is nothing more exciting and inspiring to me than stimulating dialogue between those truly interested in learning from others’ perspectives. Being able to facilitate such a thing, intentionally void of theological or academic judgment is even more inspiring.
Why is the topic of pastoral care and counseling becoming increasingly important in theological discussions today?
Pastoral care and counseling is becoming more important in all types of conversations, not just theological. I think it’s paramount to note, however, that many of those conversations do not appear overtly “pastoral.” My sense is that there is something far more subversive happening in those dialogues.
My notion of pastoral care and counseling is simply to come alongside others and to companion with them while they find their way. I’ve found myself walking along side all manner of folks across the years. In the process, others teach me about their life experiences and our common humanness. Viewing pastoral care and counseling outside of a strictly “pastoral” paradigm allows someone to honor and value the worth of the other without passing judgment on the other.
How do you see Pastoral Care and Counseling fitting into the curriculum at YTI?
My sense of how pastoral care and counseling integrate into the curriculum at YTI is two-fold. First, care of any sort revolves around listening/hearing the other well. Second, walking with others also involves, “saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.” In other words, engaging in life-altering dialogue with abundant sensitivity to others and their needs is crucial; it also requires openness, honesty, and truthfulness.
Listening/hearing, speaking truthfully, and being fully present with others are skills people develop. With deliberate attention, I think such communication expertise is a potential byproduct of the intentional dialogue YTI is determined to facilitate.