Item description for Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems: Scapegoating, Family Secrets, and the Abuse of Power by Candace Reed Benyei & Harold G. Koenig...
Overview In Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems, you'll take an incisive look at why sexual misconduct occurs in religious systems and how to implement proactive strategies for holistic change. Applicable to both Jewish and Christian communities, this illuminating exploration also takes a look at the psychology behind the inevitable scapegoating that occurs in these situations, why it is perpetuated, and how you can avoid the damaging tradition of silence that allows the trauma to continue its destructive work, impairing congregations for years to come.
Publishers Description In Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems, you ll take an incisive look at why sexual misconduct occurs in religious systems and how to implement proactive strategies for holistic change. Applicable to both Jewish and Christian communities, this illuminating exploration takes a look at the psychology behind scapegoating, why it is perpetuated, and how you can quell the damaging tradition of silence.Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems helps you see leaders of religious institutions in a way that the world has been afraid to see them--in a glass clearly. Enriched with metaphoric myths and fairy tales instead of technical jargon, its unique systemic perspective reveals the psychodynamics behind the obsession with family secrets and lets you understand this dysfunction from the perspectives of victim, abuser, and counselor. These specific areas will both inform and aid you in dealing with this difficult subject: the religious institution as a family system the religious system as an illusion of the perfect family the concept of God-transference and the overidealization of clergy clergy personal relationships and clergy congregational relationships vulnerability and the psychology of the victim strategies for healing dysfunctional religious systems Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems comes at just the right time--in an era when little has been written on the subject, especially from a systemic perspective, this work comes at a time when the phenomena of clergy sexual misconduct has rocked the very foundation of religious systems worldwide. Whether you re a lay congregational leader, judicatory administrator, pastoral counselor, psychologist, or seminarian, you ll find that the coping strategies and intervention techniques it outlines will guide you in pinpointing the sickness at its source and restoring felicity and order to your religious leaders and their communities."
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.43" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.58" Weight: 0.76 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 1998
ISBN 0789004526 ISBN13 9780789004529
Availability 0 units.
More About Candace Reed Benyei & Harold G. Koenig
Benyei is Director, Institute for Human Resources, Redding, Connecticut.
Reviews - What do customers think about Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems: Scapegoating, Family Secrets, and the Abuse of Power?
incredible, helpful book Apr 25, 2008
This is an incredible book. The author articulates the dynamic of abuse in the most understandable language. Helpful to victims, as well as professionals.
Truth and Clergy Abuse Jan 7, 2005
For the last decade or more an item often landing in the news has been the misconduct and abusiveness of clergy. In the late eighties this often had to with scandals surrounding TV evangelists, but lately much attention has been focused on the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. However, clergy abuse and misconduct have no boundaries as far as denominations, and unfortunately there does not seem to be a denomination yet with a good track record for dealing openly and truthfully when these things occur. The web site "Pokrov" for Orthodox victims of clergy abuse and misconduct stated: "Over the last three years we have received several copies of letters our readers have sent to their churches to tell about their abuse -- letters that never received any response from the hierarchs. Some of our readers have even met with bishops in person. Many of our readers find that their letters and pleas to authorities come to a dead end because the bishop or hierarchs ignores them or discredits them. They end up feeling even worse than they did before. These stories have prompted us to write the Pokrov guidelines which are from a victims' perspective." This web site warns victims not to go alone to their church authorities to report abuse. This is disheartening to say the least. A significant book that addresses the issue of clergy abuse and misconduct is Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems: Scapegoating, Family Secrets, and the Abuse of Power by Candace R. Benyei, PhD. This vital book demythologized spiritual leaders and helps the reader to see the negative effects of placing them on a pedestal. It is an incisive look at the outrage of abuse from the perspective of victim, perpetrator and counselor. In most churches and religious systems when abuse or misconduct occurs, it is generally covered-up and kept silent. Though there may seem to be good reasons to do this, Benyei documents how this secret keeping is destructive to the victim(s) and the congregation, whether they know it or not: "The keeping of the secret produces more pain to more people than the original insult itself"(Pg 104). "The secret may be closely held by a few main players; the secret may be vaporous and no one may know anything for sure. . . nonetheless, a great deal of energy is used in keeping the lid on Pandora's box, which includes not only the secret but the resultant rage, anger, loss, fear and shame" (Pg 106). One of the worst results of abuse or misconduct is the fact that the victim often becomes the scapegoat. Benyei notes, "Because it is unbearable to believe that the beloved spiritual leader could commit such acts, since that would shatter the fantasy that one had at last found the ultimate caregiver, victims are often unforgivable." (Pg 95). It would be an advance if the clergy and hierarchy and spiritual leaders of churches and religious systems would make it their responsibility to inform people about abuse and misconduct they themselves might commit, but this is highly unlikely. Therefore it is incumbent on lay people to educate themselves and others when it comes to abuse in religious systems. So often we portray the Church as a safe place to come, a sanctuary, a haven. It often is a place of healing. However, it can also be a place of deep wounding and sin. As Mother Gavrilla of blessed memory once said, "The Church is like a huge ship full of sailors, biting each other in the throat, tearing hair, punching, but the wonder is that the ship is coming into port because Christ is at the helm." This side of the Church must also be revealed if it is ever to be healed. For healing to happen, we must understand the illness. I highly recommend Benyei's book as a place to start. * * *
Highly recommended reading for both clergy and laity.� Apr 20, 2004
"Dr. Benyei's perspective expands the conceptualization of clergy sexual misconduct beyond the individual . . . to an occurrence within a community that is affected by a wide range of community issues and dynamics. . . . AN UNFLINCHING LOOK AT A TOPIC THAT IS CONTROVERSIAL AND PAINFUL. Highly recommended reading for both clergy and laity."
Reviewed by: Christine A. Courtois, PhD, Author, Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy and Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse; Clinical Director, The CENTER Posttraumatic Disorders Program, The Psychiatric Institute of Washington, Washington, DC
APPLICABLE TO BOTH JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES Apr 20, 2004
"APPLICABLE TO BOTH JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES. The coping strategies and intervention techniques that are outlined provide guidance in pinpointing the sickness at its source and restoring felicity and order to religious leadership and the community."
Reviewd by: Adolescence
Balanced and Fair Aug 3, 2002
Using systems theory Dr. Benyei presents a balanced and fair approach to clergy misconduct. She astutely outlines the power dynamics in a church and the difficulty a lay person will have when bringing a complaint against a minister. She challenges us to give up our idealization of ministers and see them as the flawed human beings they are. This will not only help prevent abuse and hold ministers accountable but will also free ministers to be more genuine and receive the help and support they may need. In her final chapter she presents specific proposals to reform our churches and promote safer communities. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone concerned with building better, healthier church communities.