The Taboo of Politics in Pastoral Counseling
The journal of pastoral care & counseling : JPCC 2010 Spring; 64(1): 5.1-15
The political realities of society are present in counseling in subtle and overt ways. In this article, I argue that the client's (and counselor's) political experiences, beliefs, and commitments can be and, in many cases, should be explored. The idea of the political self or subjectivity and its identifying features and sources are described. I posit that political subjectivity forms through the processes of internalization, identification, and idealization. In identifying several reasons for the taboo of political discourse in pastoral counseling, I suggest a number of ways pastoral counselors may manage the political self in the counseling relationship. The three goals for exploring a client's political subjectivity for the client are: (1) to have a deeper and broader understanding of one's political beliefs, values, and commitments; (2) develop a more empathic understanding of the beliefs and experiences of Others; and (3) be able to take responsibility for the harm that results from one's political commitments.
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