Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 40–45 | Cite as

Pitfalls in pastoral counseling (in the overdependency relationship)

  • Norman A. Desrosiers


In this discussion of pitfalls in pastoral counseling, it has been seen that it is when the pastor comes into repeated close emotional contact with his people in the counseling relationship that he becomes exposed to certain anti-therapeutic procedures.

One of the main pitfalls is that of unconsciously, because of his helping professional bent, fostering overdependency in his counselees. Some of the major signs of the development of an overdependency relationship are seen to be the attempts on the part of the counselee to seek advice, to seek extra appointments or telephone counsel, to attempt to prolong individual sessions longer than the allotted time, and to attempt to perpetuate the duration of the counseling process beyond the immediate conflictual situation.

Some interpretation of these neurotic appeals by the counselee are offered. It is hoped that the early recognition of at least some of the signs of a developing overdependency relationship by the pastoral counselor will enable him to avoid the pitfall of unconsciously fostering such a relationship, and to deal with such individuals in a more therapeutic fashion.


Early Recognition Cross Cultural Psychology Allot Time Major Sign Conflictual Situation 
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Copyright information

© Meredith Publishing Company 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman A. Desrosiers
    • 1
  1. 1.North Carolina Alcoholic Rehabilitation ProgramButner

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