Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 50–59 | Cite as

The emotional health of the clergy

  • Paul E. Johnson

Summary and conclusions

The health we seek is creative growth through all the relationships of life. We need an elastic concept of health, with a capacity to accept limitations and to do our best with these limitations in creative efforts to keep growing.

We need to be aware of the particular hazards in this vocation, which may endanger the emotional health of the clergyman. Seeing these more clearly we can better prepare to cope with them.

We must know to whom we belong, and learn to be at home with those persons and groups who become our living, working, and reciprocal community of outgoing care and forgiving love.

If we can see emotional health as a dynamic process of ever-growing outreach and integration, we will value the stresses of our life and work. The pains as well as the joys contribute to the challenge and fulfillment of persons who grow through creative encounter with other persons.

Continuing education will be needed for this crucial vocation of ministering to others, as it is in every serving profession where the complexities of life are so baffling. Academic courses and library study, though needed, will not suffice to prepare for effective work with other persons in face-to-face relations. There will be constant need for supervised evaluation of what we are and seek to become to others in the critical moments of meeting, listening, and responding as person to person in the ultimate concerns of our life in community.


Dynamic Process Emotional Health Critical Moment Effective Work Supervise Evaluation 
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Copyright information

© Academy of Religion and Mental Health 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of TheologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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