Title

A model for pastoral counseling with African American women

Date of Award

January 2000

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Th.D.

Abstract

The model of pastoral counseling ministry developed in this dissertation is intended to make visible a comprehensive resource to the pastoral counselor for counseling with African American women. The problem of the dissertation is to make visible theological and psychological-ethical resources for the construction of a model of pastoral counseling ministry for counseling some African American women clients. The model contributes to the conceptualization of the nature, purpose and meaning of pastoral counseling with some African American women who experience themselves as estranged from self, God, and others and who seek Christian Grace. In order to solve the problem, I analyzed the historical and socio-cultural experiences that most African American women share in this culture, in Chapter II. Implications for a model emerged. Traditional theological and theoretical sources informed by the locus of womanist theological response provided a means for developing a model of pastoral counseling ministry that attends to the spiritual need for grace in the lives of some African American women. In Chapter III, the theoretical formulation of Heinz Kohut was explicated and analyzed for its potential to contribute to the theoretical construction of a model of pastoral counseling ministry with some African American women with spiritual concerns. Self psychology method and theory, in conversation my experience, the experiences of my clients and womanist theological criteria, provided a framework for organizing and analyzing data with an emphasis on intervention. In Chapter IV, Paul Tillich's theology of the self provided a conceptual framework for organizing and analyzing the historical, social, and ultimate experiences of the human being. Tillich's theological anthropology, in conversation with my experience, the experiences of my clients and womanist theological criteria, contributed to the construction of a theology of pastoral counseling ministry based on the norm of grace. Chapter V is the first movement for the construction of my proposed model. I constructed a method of practical correlation, engaged a conversation with the womanist, theoretical and theological themes that I had selected as resources for solving the problem of this dissertation. In Chapter VI, I constructed my model, a theology of pastoral counseling ministry with some African American women, using the norm of grace. Chapter VII demonstrates the model based upon my experience counseling some African American women at Georgia Association for Pastoral Counseling in Atlanta, Georgia. Chapter VIII is the conclusion. I summarized the problem of the dissertation and the significance of the study, reported the conclusions of the study, and recommended further research. The significance of the study is that a comprehensive contextual pastoral counseling resource using wholistic variables are now visible to the pastoral counselor for counseling African American women who experience themselves as estranged from self, God, and others and who have spiritual concerns and a need for grace. The variables that are visible include analysis of (1) her personal contextual experiences; (2) her relationship with self, God, and others; (3) her internalized psychosocial images; and, (4) the theory and method of intervention.