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Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters: Enhancing Pastoral Care & Guidance
by David Herl (Editor), Mark L. Berman (Editor)

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.


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Updated January, 2005

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