Synopses & Reviews
Challenging many of the conventions of pastoral counseling, Edwin H.Friedman shows how family theory points to a less stressful approach to the full range of the clergy's responsibilities.
Gain new and valuable insights into your church family through this presentation of family systems theory. Discover possibilities for increased congregational health and diminished stress.
This groundbreaking volume applies the concepts of systemic family therapy to the emotional life of congregations and their leaders. Challenging many of the conventions of pastoral counseling, Edwin H. Friedman shows how family theory points to a less stressful approach to the full range of the clergy's responsibilities. He also illuminates how congregational dynamics can be a useful model for the study of any family enmeshed in larger systems, and how such systems can themselves be viewed as "families."
Friedman compares the emotional processes at work within individual families to those in church and synagogue, suggesting that clergy can often do more to help families by the way they lead their congregations than they can through specific counseling interventions. Specific topics examined in depth include leadership through self-differentiation, managing separations in families and in congregations, and the influence of previous generations upon life cycle events. The power of the family model is clearly demonstrated in numerous examples drawn from Friedman's own extensive experience as a rabbi and practicing family therapist and from many other rabbis, priests, nuns, and ministers with whom he worked.
Both clergy and lay leaders will find that this book directly addresses the dilemmas and crises they encounter daily, while family therapists and other helping professionals may wish to recommend it to students and clients as a lucid introduction to family processes.
This bestselling book applies the concepts of systemic family therapy to the emotional life of congregations. Edwin H. Friedman shows how the same understanding of family process that can aid clergy in their pastoral role also has important ramifications for negotiating congregational dynamics and functioning as an effective leader. Clergy from diverse denominations, as well as family therapists and counselors, have found that this book directly addresses the dilemmas and crises they encounter daily. It is widely used as a text in courses on pastoral care, leadership, and family systems.
About the Author
Edwin H. Friedman, until his death in 1996, worked for more than 35 years in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and was in great demand as a consultant and public speaker throughout the country. A family therapist and ordained rabbi, Dr. Friedman was well known in the fields of mental health and pastoral education for his motivational style and his unique blend of systems thinking, humor, and common sense. He offered acclaimed workshops for mental health practitioners, clergy, business leaders, and others.
Table of Contents
IntroductionI. Family Theory
1. The Idea of a Family2. Understanding Family ProcessII. The Families within the Congregation
3. The Marital Bond4. Child-Focused Families5. Body and Soul in Family Process6. When the Parent Becomes the Child7. A Family Approach to Life-Cycle CeremoniesIII. The Congregation as a Family System
8. Family Process and Organizational Life9. Leadership and Self in a Congregational Family10. Leaving and Entering a Congregational FamilyIV. The Personal Families of the Clergy
11. The Immediate Family: Conflict and Traps12. The Extended Family: Its Potential for Salvation