This compendium is well written and sorely needed. Many argue,
certainly supported in my recent research, that there is growing
turbulence in pastoral care, a shrinking voice of influence and
a diminishing effectiveness. This book affirms the importance
of pastoral care and the unique gifts pastoral care brings to
the mix we call health care. It educates and advocates, and also
issues a strong wakeup call to clergy.
While some of the chapters were written by non-clergy, leaning
to other "experts" in the field, the content speaks
clearly and decisively. This book is needed in pastoral care.
Section 1 discusses foundations for pastoral care. Section 2,
caring for parishioners. The concluding collection deals with
clergy wellness. There are ample bibliographic references in the
book. If you need more, contact our office.
Some of the themes discussed include: caring for the soul &
the self: perspectives on pastoral helping; cultural diversity
perspectives in pastoral care & counseling; religion as a
meaning system; stormy weather: understanding domestic violence
& child sexual abuse; pastoral care & the older adult;
pastoral care for children & adolescents who suffer; youth
aggression & bullying; pastoral care & counseling of couples
& families; the role of clergy as universal donors and recognizing
& understanding burnout among the clergy.
It is nice to see people outside the clergy fold contributing
to our efficacy and health. It has a strong clinical component.
What I did not see, and this old fashioned preacher would insist
upon, is the strong reminder that pastoral care and pastoral counseling
are NOT the same thing. They require different skills and, most
of all, bring different concerns (and threats) to the relationship
between pastor and parishioner.