Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 48–58 | Cite as

A potential peril of pastoral care: Malpractice

  • Barton E. Bernstein


The pastoral counselor may be a full-time counselor trained in pastoral care or a clergyman with a congregation, who from time to time serves his flock as a counselor, ministering to the personal needs of his congregation in a manner designated “pastoral care” or perhaps, more appropriately, “pastoral psychotherapy.” Once a therapeutic relationship is established, a congregant acquires certain rights and the clergyman, duties. If these duties are breached due to the negligence of the pastoral counselor and this causes the congregant to be damaged in any way, the pastoral counselor may be liable and may be called upon to respond in damages. The cause of action is called malpractice. This paper isolates areas of actual and potential malpractice.


Therapeutic Relationship Pastoral Care Pastoral Counselor Potential Peril Pastoral Psychotherapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barton E. Bernstein
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate School of Social WorkThe University of TexasArlington
  2. 2.College of Child Development, Family LivingTexas Woman's UniversityDenton
  3. 3.Program in Health Services Administration, Graduate School of ManagementUniversity of DallasIrving
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry at Southwestern Medical SchoolThe University of Texas Health Science Center at DallasUSA

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