Pastoral counseling, Donald Capps believes, should not be just another service-like chartered tours-that churches provide for their members. Rather, he views counseling as essential to the religious task and identity of any religious congregation or parish. In his new, more radical model of pastoral counseling, Capps combines the innovative techniques of brief counseling or therapy with recent insights about the uses of narrative in pastoral care.
Itself enlivened by many stories, Capps' book explains how people story their lives-inspirationally, paradoxically, or miraculously-and the patterns they exhibit. He shows pastors how they can help people discover their own story, discern its shape and direction, and move constructively to find new understandings or possibilities in their situation. Through pastoral counseling, Capps affirms, congregations can become constructive environments in which people find new grounds for hope.