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Pastoral Care and Counseling
An Introduction
Care for Stories, Systems, and Selves

Pastoral Care and Counseling addresses the critique that pastoral care is indistinguishable from secular psychotherapy by placing a person's relationship to God at the center of pastoral care. Each person is created in the Image of God (dignity) and has a purpose (vocation), but people face social problems such as poverty or discrimination that limit this expression. This book shows how ministers can caring for systems, arenas such as health care, education, and employment. Even traumatic events such as abuse and suicide are linked with social factors like unemployment, so understanding the impact of systems on pastoral care is an essential part of ministry in the twenty-first century.

This book combines theological reflection, psychological insights, social science research, and accessible case studies to provide an indispensable introductory text for seminary students and experienced ministers alike. The book shows how human life is a journey lived out in relationship to God. Each chapter tells a compelling story, whether adult survivors of abuse, suicide, intimate partner violence, poverty, racial reconciliation, dementia, and grief, and draws theological conclusions with direct practical importance from the narrative.

Students reading this text will have tools to reflect theologically on practices of pastoral care and counseling. Rather than splitting pastoral ministry into subtopics, the Care for Stories, Systems, and Self framework fosters a balanced, wise, and theologically reflective approach to ministry in a variety of settings.

ISBN: 978-08091-5390-9

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