Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices

Article excerpt

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION AND THE CARE OF SOULS: A GUIDE TO CHRISTIAN APPROACHES AND PRACTICES. Gary W. Moon & David G. Benner (Eds.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2004. Pp. 254. Reviewed by James R. Beck (Denver Seminary/Littleton, CO).

Drs. Moon and Benner have added to the growing literature on spiritual direction by giving their readers a valuable tool to help understand how psychotherapy, pastoral counseling, and spiritual direction differ from one another while at the same time bearing great similarity to one another. The editors have used two creative approaches to developing the book's theme. Both of these features of the book's design combine to make this volume unique and useful.

First, they invited seven authors who each represent a different theological tradition to describe how spiritual direction operates within their faith tradition. Each of these seven chapters has a parallel structure thus making comparisons across the seven somewhat easier for the reader. Second, they asked three different persons (a Christian psychologist, a spiritual director, and a pastoral counselor) to respond to a hypothetical case and to describe how they would offer soul care to the troubled client. Each of the three caregivers deals uniquely with the case although the differences in their approaches are likely attenuated by the fact that they each have training in more than just one of the three areas of soul care.

The structure of the seven parallel chapters described above revolves around a definition of spiritual direction, its practice, the process of authentic transformation that the tradition seeks to attain, the role of the spiritual director, indicators of mature spirituality, how the tradition views the relationship among spiritual direction, psychotherapy, and pastoral counseling, how referrals are made or not made to other providers of soul care, and suggestions for further reading. Each chapter contains a chart showing how that particular tradition of spiritual direction deals with presenting problems, goals of the intervention, and the procedures and the resources used to attain those goals. In some cases the suggested resources are extensive; in others, only a few titles are listed. The seven chapters deal with Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Episcopalianism, Reformed churches, Wesleyan Holiness denominations, the social justice tradition (read: mainline), and Pentecostal/Charismatic communions. …

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