How do chaplains and counselors form their identities as "pastoral" caregivers in challenging clinical contexts such as institutional, interdisciplinary, postmodern, inter-cultural, and multi-faith work environments? This book is a product of the fifteen-year-long journey towards answering a well-known but hardly answered question about pastoral identity. Based on narratives of many pastoral practitioners who work in hospitals or counseling settings, the author puzzles through ways for helping professionals to form their identities in bewildering work environments.
Previous studies on pastoral identity have focused on an individual interiority of pastoral practitioners and have emphasized mainly the caregivers’ perceptions and practices from a developmental and training perspective. Grounded in an empirical study of active pastoral care providers, this book presents pastoral identity as a relational and interactional property, socially constructed among pastoral care partners, culture, and God. Findings of the empirical study support contemporary theological and social psychological discourses: identity is embedded in and embodied by relationships.
This book will guide you through confusions, worries, insights, and woes you have experienced while helping others in order to envision yourself more clearly as a spiritually-embodied and pastorally-tending caregiver. You will find yourself to be more who you are and engage more with others as they become who they are.