Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 202–210 | Cite as

Family therapy and communion

  • George Fitchett


There has been a shift of healing authority in our culture from priestly practitioners to scientific and medical practitioners. As part of this change the care and healing of stressed or broken families is now seen as the responsibility of the family therapist. A consequence of this has been some role confusion on the part of the clergy and therapists. A comparison of the symbolic complex of belief and value systems used in MacGregor's team-family method of family therapy and Joseph Haroutunian's theology of the church shows four striking similarities. The implications of these similarities for the continued confusion or clarity of the roles of priest and therapist are noted.


Healing Authority Family Therapy Medical Practitioner Cross Cultural Psychology Family Therapist 
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Reference Notes

  1. 1.
    Further discussions of this shift can be found in: Don S. Browning,The Moral Context of Pastoral Care (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976); Milton Kramer, “The Behavioral and Moral Implications of the Scientific Revolution for Psychiatry,”Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 9, 1968, pp. 440–452; Talcott Parsons, “Mental Illness and ‘Spiritual Malaise,’” inSocial Structure and Personality (London: The Free Press, 1964); and Fred M. Sander, “Family Therapy or Religion: A Re-reading of T. S. Eliot'sThe Cocktail Party,” Family Process, Vol. 9 (1970) pp. 279–296.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Further descriptions of the effects of industrialization and urbanization can be found in: Ernest W. Burgess, “Economic, Cultural, and Social Factors in Family Breakdown,”American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Vol. 24 (1954) pp. 462–470; Parsons,op. cit.; and Virginia Satir,Conjoint Family Therapy (Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books, Inc., 1967).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Discussions of the identity problems can be found in many sources including: William A. Clebsch and Charles E. Jaekle,Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1967), especially in the “Preface;”Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 30, (1976), especially articles by Myers, Prest, and Foster; and Randall C. Mason, Jr., “Role Modesl, Training and the Parish,”Journal of Supervision and Training in Ministry, Vol. 1 (1978) pp. 70–84.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Paul Halmos,The Faith of the Counsellors, (New York: Schocken Books, 1970), p. 7.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kramer, p. 442.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jerome Frank,Persuasion and Healing, (New York, Schocken Books, 1974).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Robert MacGregor,et al., Multiple Impact Therapy with Families (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Joseph Haroutunian,God With Us (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kenneth I. Howard and David E. Orlinsky, “Psychotherapeutic Processes,”Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 23 (1972) pp. 615–668.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    MacGregor,Multiple Impact Therapy with Families, p. 79.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid., p. xvii.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., p. 72.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ibid., p. 12.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Haroutunian,God With Us, p. 24.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibid., p. 97.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., p. 156.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ibid., p. 8.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ibid., p. 289.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    MacGregor,Multiple Impact Therapy with Families, p. 3.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid., p. 59.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Haroutunian,God With Us, p. 158.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    MacGregor,Multiple Impact Therapy With Families, p. 11.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Haroutunian,God With Us, p. 8.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Browning,Moral Context, p. 16.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ibid., p. 37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Fitchett
    • 1
  1. 1.Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical CenterUSA

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