Helping the Good Shepherd
Pastoral Counselors in a Psychotherapeutic Culture, 1925–1975
Informed by the principles of psychology and psychoanalysis, pastoral counselors sought a middle ground between science and Christianity in advising anxious parishioners who sought their help for personal problems such as troubled children, violent spouses, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Myers-Shirk finds that gender relations account in part for the great divide between the liberal and conservative moral sensibilities in pastoral counseling. She demonstrates that, as some pastoral counselors began to advocate women's equality, conservative Christian counselors emerged, denouncing more liberal pastoral counselors and secular psychologists for disregarding biblical teachings. From there, the two sides diverged dramatically.
Helping the Good Shepherd will appeal to scholars of American religious history, the history of psychology, gender studies, and American history. For those practicing and teaching pastoral counseling, it offers historical insights into the field.
About the Author
"Raises important and still relevant questions about the relationship of psychology, culture, and pastoral practice."—A.W. Klink, Religious Studies Review
"Through lucid descriptions and sensitivity to her subject, she offers a significant historical description of contemporary therapeutic presumption."—Kathryn Lofton, American Historical Review
"Helping the Good Shepherd defines the history of pastoral care and counseling in the United States. Scholars and practitioners in those areas will surely welcome her meticulous descriptions of key figures and debates in their field . . . It deserves a wide scholarly audience."—Matthew S. Hedstrom, Journal of Church History
"It is rare that contemporary questions about religion and health are historicized to the degree evident in this meticulously researched book."—Wendy Cadge, Sociology
"The argument is compelling, the scholarship sound, the writing lucid and orderly, and the subject matter engaging. Myers-Shirk does a good job of linking her topic to wider currents in American culture."—E. Brooks Holifield, Emory University
|The Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context|
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