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Community Mental Health: The Role of Church and Temple by Howard J. Clinebell, Jr., (Ed.)


Howard J. Clinebell, Jr., is retired professor of Pastoral Counseling, School of Theology at Claremont, California. Published by Abingdon Press, New York, Nashville, 1970. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.




The effectiveness of churches and temples as participants in the mental health revolution will rise or fall depending on the quality of training which their clergymen receive in this field, and on their success in training their laymen, in turn. For this reason, nothing is of greater significance in the church-mental health partnership than increasing the number and quality of training programs for clergymen. Clergy training in mental health insights and skills should be widely available on three levels -- seminary, graduate training (for specialists) and continuing education (for parish clergymen) To increase such training opportunities is a responsibility shared by seminaries, denominational leaders, clinical training and pastoral counseling centers, and by mental health leaders.

The first paper in this section (Stewart) deals with the crucial matters of the role and training of laymen in community mental health and pastoral care. Three of the chapters (Howe, Johnson, and Westberg) in this section discuss various aspects of continuing education. Two chapters deal with seminary (Gates) and graduate (Wise) training, respectively. Another chapter (Anderson) discusses several issues in training clergymen in mental health skills, particularly the need for including an emphasis on the physical aspects of mental disturbances.

This section also focuses on several topics which have to do with organizing and implementing church-related mental health programs. One issue is that of interprofessional cooperation, a difficult but essential aspect of church -- mental health partnerships. Understanding and being able to draw on governmental resources in mental health is another practical dimension of effective church involvement. These topics are illuminated by two of the papers (Pattison and Ozarin) in this section. Another chapter (Vayhinger) deals with the need for research in the area of the churches and mental health. The last chapter (Joensuu) opens a window on the world, as it discusses the family life education challenge around the globe as this relates to mental health. A brief concluding chapter by the editor makes some suggestions for moving into action.

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