A word about the differences between the practice of clinical, forensic psychology and pastoral counseling is in order, given Dr. Dahl has training, background and experience in all three distinct fields.
Clinical psychology is an evidence-based discipline that proceeds in evaluating and treating human dilemmas according to carefully researched and demonstrated methods. These methods are identifiable and replicable. A list of the sources for the evaluation and treatment of clinically identifiable problems follows.
Forensic psychology is a specialized branch of clinical psychology that interfaces with the law, legal issues, corrections and the courts. Forensic psychologists provide court-ordered or parole or probation department-directed psychotherapy related to the conviction of a crime. In criminal court matters, forensic psychologists also offer psychological evaluation services which are intended to assist the trier of fact, the court, attorneys and juries with expert opinion on the psychological issues or the nature of a criminal allegation or conviction. These may include competency to stand trial evaluations.
In civil court, forensic psychologists may assist the court with child custody or personality evaluations of parents in custody cases. Forensic psychologists may also assist with evaluations related to disability determinations or claims; workman’s compensation, workplace injury, violence or harassment claims; competency evaluations; or pre-employment screening evaluations for public safety officers..
Pastoral counseling involves an appreciative inquiry into the whole person with a particular focus on the relationships between that person, others in their relationships systems and their Higher Power, their God or their Source of Ultimate Concern. While Dr. Dahl is clearly identified with a particular and well-defined faith-tradition, the Evangelical Lutheran tradition, his patients come from widely varied backgrounds including: AA/NA, Atheist/Agnostic, Buddhist, Confusian, Evangelical Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Roman Catholic, Zen. These people have requested his services because he understands their ultimate concerns and can work within the framework of their belief systems.