Helping the Good Shepherd: Pastoral Counselors in a Psychotherapeutic Culture, 1925-1975 [NOOK Book]

Overview

This history of Protestant pastoral counseling in America examines the role of pastoral counselors in the construction and articulation of a liberal moral sensibility. Analyzing the relationship between religion and science in the twentieth century, Susan E. Myers-Shirk locates this sensibility in the counselors’ intellectual engagement with the psychological sciences.

Informed by the principles of psychology and psychoanalysis, pastoral counselors sought a middle ground between...

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Helping the Good Shepherd: Pastoral Counselors in a Psychotherapeutic Culture, 1925-1975

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Overview

This history of Protestant pastoral counseling in America examines the role of pastoral counselors in the construction and articulation of a liberal moral sensibility. Analyzing the relationship between religion and science in the twentieth century, Susan E. Myers-Shirk locates this sensibility in the counselors’ intellectual engagement with the psychological sciences.

Informed by the principles of psychology and psychoanalysis, pastoral counselors sought a middle ground between science and Christianity in advising anxious parishioners who sought their help for personal problems such as troubled children, violent spouses, and alcohol and drug abuse.

Myers-Shirk finds that gender relations account in part for the great divide between the liberal and conservative moral sensibilities in pastoral counseling. She demonstrates that, as some pastoral counselors began to advocate women’s equality, conservative Christian counselors emerged, denouncing more liberal pastoral counselors and secular psychologists for disregarding biblical teachings. From there, the two sides diverged dramatically.

Helping the Good Shepherd will appeal to scholars of American religious history, the history of psychology, gender studies, and American history. For those practicing and teaching pastoral counseling, it offers historical insights into the field.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Pastoral Theology - James N. Lapsley
Myers-Shirk has provided us with a clear, rather thorough and accurate history of the pastoral care and counseling movement during the period that she treats.
Religious Studies Review - A.W. Klink
Raises important and still relevant questions about the relationship of psychology, culture, and pastoral practice.
American Historical Review - Kathryn Lofton
Through lucid descriptions and sensitivity to her subject, she offers a significant historical description of contemporary therapeutic presumption.
Journal of Church History - Matthew S. Hedstrom
Helping the Good Shepherd defines the history of pastoral care and counseling in the United States. Scholars and practitioners in those areas will surely welcome her meticulous descriptions of key figures and debates in their field... It deserves a wide scholarly audience.
Sociology - Wendy Cadge
It is rare that contemporary questions about religion and health are historicized to the degree evident in this meticulously researched book.
Journal of Pastoral Theology
Myers-Shirk has provided us with a clear, rather thorough and accurate history of the pastoral care and counseling movement during the period that she treats.

— James N. Lapsley

Religious Studies Review
Raises important and still relevant questions about the relationship of psychology, culture, and pastoral practice.

— A.W. Klink

American Historical Review
Through lucid descriptions and sensitivity to her subject, she offers a significant historical description of contemporary therapeutic presumption.

— Kathryn Lofton

Journal of Church History
Helping the Good Shepherd defines the history of pastoral care and counseling in the United States. Scholars and practitioners in those areas will surely welcome her meticulous descriptions of key figures and debates in their field... It deserves a wide scholarly audience.

— Matthew S. Hedstrom

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Susan E. Myers-Shirk is a professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Anton Boisen and the Scientific Study of Religion 16

2 The Methodology of Clinical Pastoral Education 40

3 The Minds of Moralists 62

4 From Adjustment to Autonomy 86

5 Democracy and the Psychologically Autonomous Individual 102

6 An Ethic of Relationships 122

7 Gendered Moral Discourse 142

8 The Language of Rights and the Challenge to the Domestic Ideal 162

9 Resurrection of the Shepherd 180

10 Christian Counseling and the Conservative Moral Sensibility 206

Epilogue 234

Notes 241

Index 293

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