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The Minister as Diagnostician: Personal Problems in Pastoral Perspective Paperback – January 1, 1976

ISBN-13: 978-0664241230 ISBN-10: 0664241239 Edition: 1st

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The Minister as Diagnostician: Personal Problems in Pastoral Perspective + Assessing Spiritual Needs + Professional Spiritual and Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain's Handbook
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul W. Pruyser was an esteemed clinical psychologist at the Menninger Clinic whose writings on psychology and religion have been widely read.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664241239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664241230
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John O VINE VOICE on April 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Paul Pruyser, in "The Minister as Diagnostician" gives an insightful view into the challenges, struggles and questions of ultimate meaning that hospital patients face. The purpose of the book is not a biblical exegesis exercise, but rather to help pastors and chaplains draw on the disciplines of spirituality and psychology to gain a deeper understanding of what patients, familiy members and hospital staff go through. Pruyser's book is a pioneering effort in this respect, because next to Anton Boisen's work in the 1940's and 50's, this book is one of the few that adopts an interpretive rather than prescriptive approach toward pastoral care. In a nutshell, Pruyser seems to be saying that if we are to be effective in our pastoral care, we must first have a grasp on what situation the patient and his or her family are in- what are their resources for support? where do they locate ultimate meaning and hope? what are their challenges? What pastoral resources can be mobilized to address these needs?
Pruyser provides an extremely helpful model and template for understanding the spirutal needs of the patients to whom we minister. For those of us who make pastoral care visits, particularly in the hospital, on a regular basis- this book is tremendously helpful food for thought. If you are looking for a book of proof texts on the basis for pastoral care, however- that is not what this book is all about. Remember, Pruyser's approach is descriptive, rather than prescriptive. This book is an excellent pastoral care resource for chaplains, pastors and pastoral care visitors. I have used it in my work as a hospital chaplain and I would highly recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Sackett on January 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pruyser's small, easily read book is packed with both a conceptual framework and a distinct seven-dimension scheme for diagnosing spiritual issues. It is particularly useful for ministers working with people whose lives are complicated by illness, injury, addiction, or traumatic memories, or whose spiritual journeys don't follow an expected path. A second group to benefit from this book would be healthcare providers who want to learn how to engage more helpfully with patients for whom spirituality is a significant factor affecting their well-being.

Pruyser explores several important distinctions:

* Example: The distinction between "diagnosis" and "labeling," contrasting Karl Meninger's enlightening concept of co-diagnosis, in which the patient and professional come to a shared understanding of the patient's situation, with the often demeaning experience of labeling, where the patient/parishioner is given a label by a doctor or clergy member.

* Example: The distinction between "religious judgment" and "spiritual diagnosis." Religious judgment typically focuses on how a person's beliefs and behavior compare to a religion's expectations; it may be expressed about someone within or outside the group. Spiritual diagnosis focuses on the quality of the person's spiritual experience and its interaction with their physical, emotional and social well-being. Spiritual diagnosis will identify one's spiritual strengths and resources as well as areas of difficulty and vulnerability that need attention.

* Example: The distinction between spiritual and psychological authority and language.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick O'neal on February 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
A classic and must-read if one is to work in an institutional setting.

Some people maybe put-off buy the jargon but it does help to solidify basic principles of chaplain visits. With this said, I think many parish pastors may not appreciate the more clinical nature and style.

However, there is the common ground of continuing to listen beyond one's "words". We servants are to listen to the heart, as well as the words, and this book attempts the reader to create more meaningful and clearer encounters when paying visits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Eickhoff on November 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was an overall good book. It refocused me toward the language and perspective of faith and being a pastor when working with a troubled person. I completely agree with his construct of pastoral guidance in concert with clinical therapy.
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7 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Mark Donovan on February 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book by Pruyser turned out to be a big disappointment. While I could list a number of reasons why I did not care for the book, I will limit my remarks to two areas which I found to be especially disappointing. To state it quite simply: the overall tenor of the book is secular. For example, he repeatedly refers to the pastor as a "professional" who is counseling "clients". While both of these terms may be technically acceptable to some people, I find them both to be offensive. In the true sense of the term, the pastor is not a "professional" (according to Pruyser, the pastor is viewed as one professional among many others such as psychiatrists, doctors, social workers, and others who perform what he sees as similar "services"). In light of the Biblical qualifications and duties of a pastor, it is hardly appropriate to refer to him as a "professional" in this sense. To do so takes a man who is called and gifted by God to perform a sacred duty and secularize him and the ministry he has been given. To be sure, the ox is not to be muzzled when he threshes the floor, but to take the fact that pastors are compensated for their efforts and thus lump them in with those whose callings are of an entirely different order and label them all "professionals" does not resonate well.
Also, over the course of the 134 pages, there is only one Biblical passage which is referenced (Jn. 8:3-11, p. 117)! This was tremendously disturbing. As a book which is targeted to ministers (remember the title of the book), it was quite a let down to read page after page and chapter after chapter only to find no attempt to deal with pastoral counseling from a Biblical standpoint.
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The Minister as Diagnostician: Personal Problems in Pastoral Perspective
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