Pastoral Care & Counselling

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'I would recommend this text as a basic reading resource for those with an interest in the field as well as those who practice pastoral care and counselling' - Youth & Policy

'This is a useful book that discusses the differences and similarities if pastoral care and counselling' - Quaker Retreat Group Newsletter

'I think Gordon Lynch has produced an admirable introduction to this subject. I believe it should become a 'must' for those undertaking theological training and would also highly commend it to those engaged in the supervisory process' - Gary Haire, Accord

'This book, focusing as it does on the ethics underpinning any pastoral care or counselling relationship, as a real joy to read being well-written, engaging and thought-provoking. Drawing on a rich variety of ethical dilemmas and presenting some complex ethical thinking in a disarmingly simple way, Gordon Lynch invites us to engage more deeply with our own ethical nature. We are encouraged to discover what the good life means to us and how this impacts on pastoral encounters. This book does not give us any easy ethical answers instead it invites us to reflect more deeply on our own ethical viewpoint and how this can inform our pastoral work with clients. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone involved in pastoral care and counselling' - William West, Senior Lecturer in Counselling, University of Manchester

'Beautifully clearly written. This is a text for those who are not experts in ethics or moral reflection. It provides a lucid introduction to the field' - Stephen Pattison, Cardiff University

'This is a very user-friendly book. The writing is lucid, the reader knows at every stage just where he is in understanding the development of the writer's thought, and the material is frequently summarised. It is clear that Gordon Lynch is an expert in this field.… This is a good read' - Alan Mace, Dynamics Newsletter

'This book must be considered a considerable success. The writing is clear and informed and could be used in any course dealing with the training of counsellors or pastoral carers. The line taken is original and demonstrates how pastoral care and counselling should not simply be seen as a series of techniques professionally applied and contractually enforced' - William K Kay, Reviews in Religion and Theology

Pastoral Care & Counselling provides an accessible framework for understanding the role of the pastoral care worker and the ethical dimensions of practice.

Central to the book is the argument that all pastoral practice is inevitably shaped by the pastoral worker's own vision of what it means to live a good life. A thoughtful approach to pastoral work therefore requires pastoral carers to reflect critically about the values that shape their practice and about how the good life can be encouraged or hindered by different aspects of their pastoral encounters.

The book tackles practical concerns such as: boundary issues and the place of friendship in caring relationships; the social and institutional factors which form the context of pastoral care; and what it means to act in an ethical and competent manner.

Accessibly written and illustrated with case examples, Pastoral Care & Counselling will be of interest to those already working in pastoral care and those training in theology and pastoral work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761970972
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 10/4/2002
  • Series: Ethics in Practice Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 3.50 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Lynch is Professor in the Sociology of Religion in the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck College. He joined Birkbeck from the University of Birmingham in May 2007, where he had been Senior Lecturer in Religion and Culture.

Professor Lynch's work focuses on the relationship between religion and culture, and contemporary religious movements, in the West. He was employed as a consultant to help to draw up the research priorities for the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society research programme, the largest research programme on religion to have been commissioned in the UK, and continues to serve on the steering group for that programme. He is also a member of the ESRC's Virtual College, representing work in the field of the sociology of religion.

Professor Lynch is the chair of the British Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion study group. He is has also been the co-founder and lead convenor of the UK research network for Theology, Religion and Popular Culture, and is co-chair of the Religion, Media and Culture Group within the American Academy of Religion. In addition to his academic work, Professor Lynch also writes and speaks on issues of religion and contemporary society in various media, and is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops exploring issues of contemporary spirituality.

Professor Lynch's original doctoral study explored the relationship between belief, values and psychotherapy, and he subsequently trained as a psychodynamic counsellor. His early writing discussed theoretical and ethical issues in counselling and psychotherapy, and he edited Clinical Counselling in Pastoral Settings (Routledge, 1999).

On starting his academic appointment at Birmingham in 1999, his interests moved more towards sociological and cultural approaches to studying significant sources of meaning and value for people living in an increasingly de-Christianised Western society. This led him to write After Religion: Generation X and the Search for Meaning (DLT, 2002), a critical examination of an emerging literature on the spirituality of young adults, alienated from institutional religion. In turn, this project led to more detailed research on significant values and meanings amongst participants in the mainstream techno and hard-house club scene, as well as a subsequent book exploring theological and religious studies approaches to researching media and popular culture (Understanding Theology and Popular Culture, Blackwell, 2005). He has has developed an international profile in the field of religion, media and culture, and recently edited of collection of leading essays exploring key issues for the future of this field (Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture, IB Tauris, 2007).

His interest in sources of meaning and value in contemporary Western society also led him to explore a growing literature suggesting that there is a significant spiritual movement taking place outside the conventional spaces and boundaries of institutional religion. This project, published as The New Spirituality: An Introduction to Progressive Belief in the Twenty-First Century (IB Tauris, 2007) led Lynch to conclude that this 'spirituality' did not at present involve substantial numbers of people, nor was it confined to a world of alternative spiritualities beyond institutional religion, but that it was an ideological movement that cut across and beyond a range of religious traditions and represented a contemporary extension of a more established movement of religious liberalism in the West. At a time in which popular and media discourse about religion often presents the polarised alternatives of conservative/fundamentalist religion or atheism/secularism, Professor Lynch has been keen to argue that this alternative movement of the religious Left should not be ignored as a possible source of ideas and practices for the future.

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Table of Contents

The Significance of Values and Moral Reflection for Pastoral Care and Counselling
Identifying Our Vision of the Good Life
Pursuing a Vision of the Good Life
The Social Context of the Pastoral Encounter
The Boundaries of the Pastoral Relationship
Friendship and the Qualities of the Pastoral Relationship
Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in the Pastoral Conversation

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