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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 6 - Contextual and Intervening Conditions


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Contextual and Intervening Conditions

Contextual conditions are “the particular set of conditions within which the action/interactional strategies are taken” in relation to managing the core phenomenon (Strauss and Corbin 1990, p. 96). Unlike causal conditions, which can produce an effect, contextual conditions are those which influence the production of an effect (Dey 1999). They are specific and indicate details of the situations in which participants devised their strategies.

Intervening conditions are “the structural conditions bearing on action/interactional strategies that pertain to a phenomenon and facilitate or constrain the strategies taken within a specific context” (Strauss and Corbin 1990, p. 96). They set “the broader structural context” of the phenomenon such as time, space, culture, economics, and personal biography, and have the effect of facilitating or constraining the strategies people try to devise to manage the phenomenon they are dealing with (op. cit., p. 103). Intervening conditions, as the name suggests, come between cause and consequence and indicate how outcomes result from actions/interactions taken by individuals (Dey 1999). Strauss and Corbin stress the importance for the analysis of showing how conditions are linked to the phenomenon through their effect on the actions/interactions that happen in the process; otherwise they are meaningless (1990, pp. 167, 256). A further important aspect of intervening conditions is that they explain why people may experience different outcomes from the same phenomenon (op. cit., p. 125), an instance of which emerged in this section of the...

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