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The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach Paperback – February 16, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Every pastor needs to study this book so that new generations can learn the meaning of Christiancare ina transformed world." -- James N. Poling, Professor of Pastoral Care, Counseling, and Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

"This is a rich resource for ministries of care and counseling that I will use in teaching." -- Nancy J. Ramsay, Executive Vice President and Dean, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care, Brite Divinity School

About the Author

Carrie Doehring is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. She is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664226841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664226848
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carrie Doehring cdoehring@iliff.edu
Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Iliff School of Theology, Denver Colorado
B.Mus., M.Div., McGill University
M.Th., Wilfrid Laurier University
Ph.D., Boston University

In the area of pastoral care and theology, Carrie Doehring currently is articulating a contextual theologically-based approach to pastoral care that draws upon postmodern approaches to knowledge (The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006). As a feminist pastoral theologian, she focuses on sexual and domestic violence and clergy sexual misconduct (Taking Care: Monitoring Power Dynamics and Relational Boundaries in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1995). A feature of her work is the use of films and novels as case studies.
Dr. Doehring is ordained in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., a Diplomat in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts and Colorado.

Carrie is married to George Magnuson, an assisting priest at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Denver. She has two adult sons, Jordan and Alex. For relaxation, she enjoys films and novels, and listening to classical choral music.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was quite disappointed as I read this book. Doerhing does offer some good solid insights into pastoral care, but these are the same old tired concepts. Doehring has a mechanistic worldview, uses tired psychological concepts,fails to stress the importance of pastoral presence, and perhaps worst of all suggests the ineffective method of treating compulsions symptomatically by isolating the behavior deemed compulsive (say overeating) rather than holistically from the root of compulsion. Effecively putting a band aid on a gaping wound.
Doehring treads dangerously close to encouraging pastoral care providers to exploit the pastoral relationship. She says, "Having access to family in ways that mental health professionals don't, Pastors can identify the role of addiction in a family and break the silence" (92). What, now pastors are detectives? What happened to the understanding that until a person/family wants help, they cannot receive it? In this paragraph she is speaking particularly of drug addiction/alcoholism.
Doehring lacks insight into social oppression, into how by noting that suicidality is higher among certain minorities and in so doing she perpetuates the status quo of oppression, rather than suggesting it is worthwhile to assess for suicidality in any person suffering a crisis (84-5).
There is little evidence of a postmodern approach, here. Doehring advocates th linear, isolative (as in isolate the symptom and fix it), mechanistic approach. And as Diarmuid O'Murchu points out anyone who has had a car break down, fixed the supposed problem only to have it break down again knows such approach only works for sometimes. Thus illustrating she buys into much of psychology's misappropriation of systems theory, in which the linear mechanistic approach is anathema.
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I am not a professional care giver at this time but am a student studying for ministry. I have read the reviews and agree there is a lack of Biblical reference. It would be helpful for pastoral care studies to actually have scriptures to reference. Also, I understand the age of the writing, 2006, but it has a slant on women and leaves out much of what men may be needing in pastoral care. Doehring's constant use of pronouns for women was distracting for me. She uses "her, she" etc. throughout and has not arrived at the all inclusive language that is encouraged today. There are many good points in the book but I feel that they are somewhat outdated. I am hoping that Doehring's new edition coming out in 2015 will update these issues. If it had not been an assigned text book for the class I am taking I would not buy it.
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This book offers an introduction to some basic concepts of pastoral care. However, Doehring draws broad generalities, exercises biases, and relies on the identity politics which drives several sectors of the modern academy.

Although generally against hierarchies, Doehring provides an order in which pastoral care provider's should assess a patient's social identity, "first gender, then race, then class, and so on..." (pg. 102).

It is important to consider gender, racial, economic, and cultural differences, and seek justice amidst racism and oppression, yet this book makes identity politics its underlining theme. In some instances, although the author claims she is open to other cultures, she uses modern, Western, individualistic conceptions of freedom to judge other cultures. Such as when she transcribes verbatims and talks about how a Korean father should and does change his thinking about individualistic over collectivistic notions of freedom from his American daughters (pg. 17,26-28).

Perhaps this book would benefit from some incorporation of scriptural and historical approaches to pastoral care, as these are virtually absent.

There are better books on pastoral care available.
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Format: Paperback
Pastoral care is a critical part of any Church ministry. The word "pastor" is synonymous with "shepherd." Unlike some places that sees the pastor as the leader-CEO, the true biblical basis of a pastor is to shepherd the flock. How we practice pastoral care however have changed, partly because of changing needs. In this book, the way is to adopt a "postmodern approach" toward the practice of pastoral care. Calling it an "intercultural approach," pastoral care in this book means not just listening to the stories of the people but also to create meaning of them. It means learning to piece together the broken pieces of life. It means learning to help people tell their stories. It means cultivating trust. For Carrie Doehring, it is the heart of pastoral care where people are willing to open up their lives to caregivers. It is about creating opportunities for "care conversations" and relating real-life to theological truths and biblical principles. Doehring goes a step further to advocate for a care that brings back individuals from a de-centered sacred bearings due to suffering and painful circumstances. How can one show compassion and understanding toward those questioning their faith and religious values? This calls for a "theological, cultural, and psychological expertise" that can help care for parishioners and people in such need, what Doehring refers to as "the compassionate art of intercultural care." Carers essentially enter into the lives of others, sharing in their pain, walking with them in the valley of questions and celebrating with them in the answers of joy. It is about intermingling one's lives with another so as to build a bridge that aids integrative moments and shared stories.Read more ›
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