(183 ppy IR£9.99)
This is more of a reference book than an original work. Andrew Monaghan makes a wide ranging synthesis of the modern trends in and about counselling. Monaghan also quotes liberally from the many Christian Spiritual writers and theologians of the last twenty years.
Authors such as Dulles, Evely, Jeremias, Rahner will all be familiar to religious and priests who trained or studied in the past two decades. The author spends the first part of the book looking at a compendium of the most common things which bring people to counselling. For example: Bereavement, Depression, Guilt, Loneliness, Abuse. His aim is to compare and contrast modern counselling insights with traditional ‘church’ responses and to propose a synthesis.
Andrew Monaghan is a priest and is involved in a ‘Radio Counselling’ service called ‘Open Line’ in Scotland. Pages 50 to 79 are a history of the development and philosophy of this programme. Throughout the book the author gives various lists of and some com mentary on the various qualities and skills needed by Christian Counsellors. He balances them against the attributes of Christ as expressed in the Gospel stories.
Pages 89 to 118 comprise a literature review of current writers in the field of Christian counselling. This may be useful to a person wanting a potted version of what authors are saying before buying the books.
Chapter 4 is titled “Christ the Counsellor” and explores the development of Christ as an integrated man and his counselling style’. The idea being to giver the reader a model of counselling which befits a Christian counsellor. In his own words, ‘If this book helps one person to put aside the stone they were about to throw at one of God’s ‘bruised reeds’ and listened instead to their pain and confusion, it will have been worthwhile’.
I hope the author’s wish comes true. I don’t think this book adds anything to the range of material already available on the subject.
Alan A. Mooney