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Counseling Families Across the Stages of Life: Handbook of Pastors and Other Helping Professionals. (Book Reviews).

Counseling Families Across the Stages of Life: Handbook of Pastors and Other Helping Professionals. By Andrew J. Weaver, Linda A. Revilla, and Harold G. Koenig. Abingdon Press, 2002. 256 pages. Paper. $30.00.

Andrew J. Weaver is a clinical psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and an ordained United Methodist minister. Linda A. Revilla is a United Methodist laywoman and developmental psychologist who specializes in working with ethnic families. She is a lecturer at the University of Hawaii in the Ethnic Studies Department. Harold G. Koenig is director of the Center for the Study of Aging, Religion/Spirituality, and Health at Duke University Medical Center.

Using case studies, the authors examine twenty life passages such as family issues, marriage preparation, infertility, parenting, and retirement as well as special conditions like dependency, terminal illnesses, and Alzheimer's disease. The book uses different perspectives but has only one motivation: the creation of a culture of caring. According to the writers, participation in faith communities can help one struggle with the isolating effects of punitive religious practices, faceless technology, or special life circumstances.

The first chapters make a case for a partnership between clergy, religious organizations, and mental health professionals for the care of families, stating that religious beliefs and care from clergy or faith communities are essential components for enabling people to cope with mental and physical illnesses or other life stressors by giving hope and stability.

The second part of the book presents case studies. The authors cover work with all of the parties involved in a specific context, including not only the one at the center of attention but also caregivers, health care professionals, the family, and the community at large.

The book is what it promises--a good reference and textbook for when we first encounter a problem in families. Every chapter has an easy-to-follow structure as well as resources and references for making a diagnosis and dealing with cross-cultural issues. This book does not, however, give long-term help in dealing with family issues.
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Author:Halmagyi, Viktoria
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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