Counselling psychology in the Church : potential and practice
This case study describes the organisation inherent in the initiation and development of a counselling service in the Church of England Diocese of Gloucester. The aim was to provide counselling for clergy and their families which was based on professional standards of counselling psychology for both the client and the organisation of the diocese. The history of the situation in the diocese and the author's prior involvement which had led to this initiative are recorded in the background to this study in Appendix 1. This describes how the need for an organised professional counselling service had become increasingly evident as a result of-, [i] a vacuum left by the breakdown of the previous network of professionally unqualified helpers [ii] the growing incidence of clergy client work [iii] the bishop's need for clergy psychological assessment to assist in his decision making [iv] the lessons learned from the experience of the Diocese of Sheffield. [v] the need for competent practice by professionally qualified and supervised counsellors. The author became increasingly aware that such a counselling service needed to be formally and clearly structured, easily accessible, and reflect both high standards of counselling from the profession of counselling psychology for the client and also the theory and research which was currently emerging about counselling in organisations. The clergy counselling service aimed to be tailor-made to suit the size, culture, ministry, location and workforce of the diocese. The Dioceseo Gloucester is a predominantly rural diocese. It comprises a large part of the Cotswolds with their traditionally wealthy farming communities, the Forest of Dean which is an impoverished former mining area, and the large towns of Cheltenham and Gloucester between the two. The diocese has 325 parishes 238 licensed clergy and 225 licensed( lay) Readers.