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Pastoral Identity and Communication

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

Communication in the helping professions can be influenced both by the needs of the client and by the particular selfconcept of the professional helper. Reporting empirical research among 270 Dutch Catholic pastors and Protestant ministers, this paper analyses the relative importance of pastoral selfconcept and client needs for pastoral communication. Five questions are answered: what is the structure of the pastoral selfconcept; how do pastors conceptualize the complementary role of their partners in pastoral communication; how do the parishioners conceive themselves as clients in pastoral communication; how do pastors and parishioners perceive the function of pastoral communication; how much agreement is there between pastors and parishioners about their respective identities and about the functions of pastoral communication ? The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of pastoral selfinterest and in relation to the structure and process of pastoral communication.


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