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Looking for Pastoral Care Anonymo Usly

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

There are people who pass over the pastor in the parish they belong to and seek for pastoral help anonymously. The question we want to tackle in this article is: Why do people do this and for which problems in particular? By means of empirical research we have sought an answer to this question. The research was done by the Institute for Practical Theology of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and was conducted by J. Firet and J. Hendriks. In paragraph 1 the formulation of the problem will be dealt with in depth. Subsequently, in paragraph 2 the hypotheses are described and in paragraph 3 the experimental design is discussed. Paragraph 4 gives the most important results of the research; it appears that fear of various kinds plays a major role. Other factors are also of influence, such as the wish to remain unattached and the need to keep the pastor out of trouble. In the final paragraph we go into a number of practical theological implications of the research results, and in particular pastoral care and the vitalization of the church.


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