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Relational Ministry

Integrating Ministry and Psychotherapy

Catherine Gibson

Historically, the relationship between religion and psychotherapy has been more negative than positive. Are there inherent contradictions between the two, or can advances in the area of mental health care offer insights that are useful for the work of those in ordained ministry? This book presents an analysis of the relationship between ordained ministry on the one hand and counselling and psychotherapeutic practice on the other. It draws on extensive interviews carried out with current and former clergy in three churches (the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland) in order to clarify why some have stayed in ministry and combined it with psychotherapy, while others have left and continue their practice as psychotherapists. The book explores possible links between the sense of ministry in these two important areas of human experience – religion and psychotherapy – and goes on to investigate how combining these might lead to a different form of ministry.
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CHAPTER 3 - The Ecclesiastical Context of Ministry


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The Ecclesiastical Context of Ministry

In this chapter I will look at the impact on the churches of the trends outlined in the previous chapter, including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I will focus on liberation theologies, the Second Vatican Council (hereafter “Vatican II”), and pastoral theology. My focus will be on these particular questions: what was it like to be an ordained person in Ireland during those years? What was changing? What was staying the same?

Pastoral theology: A brief outline

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