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Brief Pastoral Counseling [Paperback]

By Howard W. Stone (Author)
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Item description for Brief Pastoral Counseling by Howard W. Stone...

Most pastoral counselors, clergy, and psychotherapists assume that truly effective counseling requires months or even years. Studies have proven otherwise, showing that most people come for four or fewer sessions, and that the majority of any counseling's effectiveness occurs in the opening few sessions.

Publishers Description
Most pastoral counselors, clergy, and psychotherapists assume that truly effective counseling requires months or even years. Research suggests otherwise. Studies have provided two startling findings. First, most persons come for four or fewer counseling sessions, whatever the counseling method employed. Second, the majority of any counseling's effectiveness occurs in the opening few sessions. Part One uses brief pastoral counseling as a framework for detailing specific issues and approaches: getting the problem clear, assigning homework between sessions, and focusing on strengths. Part Two connects many of the typical problems encountered in parish ministry to specific counseling interventions which work in only a few sessions. Using many examples formulated out of Stone's years of counseling experience, it allows the reader to visualize each approach and make use of it as a counseling strategy.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Fortress Press
Pages   184
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.62" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 1993
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800627202  
ISBN13  9780800627201  

Availability  77 units.
Availability accurate as of May 23, 2017 05:15.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Howard W. Stone

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Howard W. Stone has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Creative Pastoral Care & Counseling
  2. Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Administration
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Pastoral Counseling
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Self Help

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Brief Pastoral Counseling?

Quickly  Jun 28, 2005
I once thought that I first became acquainted with Howard Stone through another of this theology books, 'How to Think Theologically', a book I have used in the theology classes I've taught at my seminary. As I began to do some advance-reading prior to taking CPE, I looked back over my shelves at home and discovered that I already was familiar with Stone, through this book, 'Brief Pastoral Counseling - Short-term Approaches and Strategies.'

One of the mistakes that many ministers make is to have too confuse their roles with those of therapists, psychologists and social workers. There are many areas of overlap, and the lack of distinction between these roles and the minister's role in the minds of congregation members also holds ministers in need of being able to deal with such situations, and not simply be a referral point.

But how much time can and should a minister devote to this kind of thing? The pastoral concerns of a congregation do not really permit a minister to make an unlimited, ongoing commitment to being a counselor to each individual for every circumstance, nor would such a creation of dependency on the minister be a healthy thing, for congregation or minister. One thing that Stone highlights in his introduction is that, in fact, many people coming to a minister for counseling never show up or seek an appointment past the first one, and that by and large the people want it to be brief.

Stone's book sets out methods and strategies for brief pastoral counseling encounters, that, while not discounting the value of long-term therapeutic and counseling relationships, nonetheless sees significant value and benefit to be had in the brief sessions. Stone argues that brief counseling should be the minister's first choice (recognising that it need not be the only choice). However, the closed-ended nature of brief counseling strategies can help with definite goal setting so that those who cannot or will not commit to longer-term courses can work toward an attainable goal, and also recognises that there are indeed some problems that do not require the kind of depth-therapy that longer-term strategies employ.

Stone employs case studies and definite strategies for problem solving. The first part looks at problem assessment, 'homework' assignments to be done between sessions, focus upon outcomes, and termination. In short-term counseling situations, each session might be treated as if it is the last one (indeed, even in longer-term counseling situations, each session might end up being the last one). Stone then looks in part two at specific types of techniques - paradoxical strategies like reframing or symptom modification, reinforcement methods both positive and negative, imagery approaches, thought-mastery processes, cognitive restructuring, and more. Stone gives specific examples of each, but also highlights the limitations and drawbacks of each. There is no one-size-fits-all cure or panacea.

In the final section, Stone addresses the limitations of brief pastoral counseling. There are times that legitimately call for referral to other professionals, and there are times when the pastor much concede that help is beyond his or her capacity to deliver (and Stone warns against the minister becoming the 'enabler' type that Anonymous groups such as AA identify). Stone gives two checklists, one of those persons not likely to be good candidates for brief pastoral counseling, and those who potentially are good candidates for such an approach.

Stone acknowledges that there is difficulty in this approach in many ways, not least of which with the general orientation of the larger counseling profession geared toward longer-term counseling techniques. There is also the tendency of such professionals to see ministers as primarily agents of referral (and I must confess that I recognised as Stone highlights, that in my seminary courses on pastoral care, the primary message I received was, 'you probably aren't qualified to treat these people - refer them'). Still, one pastoral care class did assign this book as part of its curriculum, and I became reacquainted with it during CPE this summer.

It is a valuable book for counselers, ministers, and those in helping professions generally, to see the kinds of techniques and strategies that are workable (and some that aren't).

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