Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. George B. Thomas


A study of marriage and family counseling methods in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa has been necessitated by the current problematic situation attributed to social, economic and industrial pressures. The situation is becoming worse due to inadequate and ineffective premarital, marital and family counseling processes.

This project has been done in the Interdenominational Theological Center. Some of the material has been obtained in other institutions in Atlanta such as Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology in Emory University, Atlanta University and Atlanta Public Library, international students and ministers from Kenya who are currently studying in the United States have contributed in giving some information regarding marriage and family life in Kenya and in Africa at large. Other material that has been used in writing this dissertation was ordered from Kenya.

The purpose of this dissertation is to respond constructively to that challenge situation in Kenya by studying what has been done in the past by the church, assessing the strengths and weaknesses in the counseling methods that contest the radical changes which impact on lilies. Then to propose a model of pastoral triage and family counseling which will minister readily to a Kenyan situation.

The proposed model is a systematic strategy of intervention formulated in the patterns of the Christian pastoral ministry. The premarital, marital and family counseling model of intervention is designed and characterized by Christian theology and the mission of the church to the contemporary society. Christian pastoral ministry has its source, origin and pattern in Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church. When this model is implemented in the ministry. It becomes an egression in the acts of teaching, guiding and healing. This model is designed to cater to the increasing marital and familial problems and confusions by means of reconciling, guiding and sustaining the spiritual l well-being of family relationships. Pastoral counseling strives to reach the goals of caring and giving new strength, and guiding in the paths of understanding and effective communication.

In building this model, the nature and design of the African family is taken into consideration. The African marriage traditions are built on a strong network of kinship, a sense of belonging and the undying respect of the hierarchy of the elders, mothers and sliding age-levels and groups. Africans have great regard for the family court, "Ndundu ya mucii," which deals with domestic and family issues. The proposed model is designed, on one hand, to combat with contemporary marital and familial issues, and on the other hand, to preserve the African culture, the dignity and solidarity of the family life style, in this regard, the implementation of the family counseling model will help in both educating the family as a whole, then guiding, and sustaining the consanguity.

The methods in this dissertation reflect the pastoral attitudes such as empathy, mutuality, sustaining supportive and training ministry. Counseling process is done in phases which mark the beginning of the intervention through problem solving to closure phases. Then the role of the church is extended beyond the counseling processes to daily pastoral care and educational ministry.

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