This article explores the cross-cultural implications of the Western notion of “boundaries” and the Asian matrix of “relationality” for pastoral care ministry. Theorists of codependence (relationship addiction) show that American awareness of boundaries produces phobic attitudes toward the interwoven interplay of human relationships. Noting the underlying American cultural ideal (i.e., individual autonomy), evidences that boundaries are culturally defined are reviewed. Drawing upon the social-psychological concept of interdependence (Asian construal of self), the author proposes that there is a need for a different understanding of “boundaries,” since some Asian people have strikingly different construals of the self, of others, and of the interdependence of the two. Boundaries and relationality need to be in dialogue with each other so as to create “relational boundaries” that empower mutual relations within which we may come to experience the power of the relational, triune God.
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Kwon, SY. Codependence and Interdependence: Cross-Cultural Reappraisal of Boundaries and Relationality. Pastoral Psychology 50, 39–52 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010495016418
- construals of the self
- pastoral care