Original Research

Wisdom as outcome of the pastoral process: Reflections on a positive pastoral narrative approach

Alfred R. Brunsdon
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 3 | a1873 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i3.1873 | © 2015 Alfred R. Brunsdon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2014 | Published: 30 April 2015

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Alfred R. Brunsdon, Department of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

From a South African perspective, pastoral care is typically concerned with the solving or resolving of critical issues such as marital crises or depression. It represents an approach that is based on a medical or disease model, addressing deficits rather than strengths in the lives of counselees. Therapeutic developments in the fields of the narrative approach and positive psychology have shifted the attention to the therapeutic nurturing of liberating stories and the strengthening of virtues. Thus, the quality of the human experience by capitalising on what is healthy and intact is enhanced. This article will explore the notion that the pastoral process should aim at understanding and nurturing emotional and spiritual strengths with wisdom as the outcome, rather than trying to unravel spiritual deficits as strategy for healing. Such a positive approach relies on wisdom as a foundational virtue. By cultivating wisdom, counselees become fit for a well-lived life. In light of this, the necessity for widening our traditional pastoral horizons is discussed. Scripture and positive psychology are considered as sources to inform the pastoral process on wisdom and the narrative is discussed as a means to uncover and cultivate wisdom in the lives of counselees. Markers for a positive pastoral narrative approach, aimed at the cultivation of wisdom, are suggested. This article endeavours to contribute to the enrichment of pastoral practitioners’ frame of reference by drawing on the insights of neighbouring helping-disciplines, like the narrative and positive psychology employed within a practical theological paradigm, hence contributing to the ongoing call (semper reformanda) to always renew our theological endeavours.

Wysheid as uitkoms van die pastorale proses: Nadenke oor ’n positiewe pastoraal-narratiewe benadering. Vanuit ’n Suid Afrikaanse perspektief is pastorale sorg tipies op die oplossing van probleme soos huwelikskonflik of depressie gerig. As sodanig verteenwoordig dit ’n benadering wat op ’n mediese of siektemodel gegrond is en op gebreke eerder as deugde van persone gerig is. Terapeutiese ontwikkelings op die terreine van die narratief en positiewe sielkunde het egter die aandag op die gebruik van bevrydende verhale en die versterking van deugde gevestig. Sodoende word die kwaliteit van die menslike bestaan verbeter deur voort te bou op dít wat gesond en ongeskonde in mense se lewens is. In hierdie artikel word die opvatting ondersoek dat die pastorale proses op die verstaan en kweek van geestelike en emosionele deugde gerig moet wees eerder as op die verstaan en ontknoping van probleme as strategie vir genesing – spesifiek met die deug van wysheid in gedagte. Só ’n benadering berus op die aanname dat wysheid ’n deug is wat persone vir die lewe bemagtig. Die versterking van wysheid rus mense vir ’n vervulde lewe toe. In die lig hiervan word die noodsaaklikheid om bestaande pastorale verwysingsraamwerke te verbreed, bespreek. Die Skrif en die positiewe sielkunde word as bronne van kennis oor wysheid oorweeg en die narratief as ’n metode om wysheid in die lewens van die beradenes bloot te lê en verder te ontwikkel. Aanwysings vir ’n positiewe pastoraal-narratiewe benadering wat op die ontwikkeling van wysheid gemik is, word gegee. Die artikel poog om die verwysingsraamwerk van pastorale versorgers te verbreed deur binne ’n prakties-teologiese raamwerk uit die insigte van die positiewe sielkunde en die narratief te put. Op dié wyse word daarna gestreef om erns te maak van die oproep om voortdurend in die teologiese arbeid te vernuwe (semper reformanda).


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Crossref Citations

1. A culture-sensitive palliative pastoral care with a focus on the African context
Alfred R. Brunsdon
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi  vol: 53  issue: 1  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/ids.v53i1.2424