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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 8 - Consequences


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One of the aims of qualitative research is to find meanings, and part of that search involves looking at action: the reasons why an action was done, the effects it produced, and further outcomes following on from it in relation to its possible meaning for the person(s) involved (Charmaz 1995). Questions that could be useful in uncovering the meaning of action would be, why was this one chosen rather than another? What led up to it, and where did it lead to?

In grounded theory, action is interpreted as being aimed at responding to a phenomenon in specific circumstances. This action leads to strategies, which in turn lead to consequences, or outcomes. The consequences I will look at in this chapter are the outcomes that resulted from the strategies devised by the participants in response to the contextual and intervening conditions discussed in Chapter 6: society, ideology, church structures and practices, theology, pastoral experience, with the addition of personal matters.

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