Die begeleiding van die gedissosieerde persoon tot geestelike en emosionele groei : 'n pastorale studie
Du Plessis, Amanda Linda
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Because of the inability to deal with traumatic and stressful situations it often happens that a person dissociates. These people then 'move out of the situation', so to speak. The dissociated person can be spiritually, emotionally and physically handicapped for life. In the long term it often results in depression, feelings of guilt, relationship problems, social maladjustment, as well as addiction to medication. Pastoral counselling to this person (as part of a multidisciplinary approach) often results in a decline of the symptoms and a normalisation of the person's situation. From the basis-theoretical research it became clear that throughout history God is present in a very prominent way in the life of the individual. Right from the very beginning at conception, until old age, He is intensely involved. God created man in His image but through sin this image was distorted. Because of His love for man, however, He fulfilled His promise of restoration and healing in and through Jesus Christ. It appears that knowledge regarding the phenomenon of dissociation dates back to as early as 400 BC. Research since the early 1990's on wards resulted in numerous publications, articles and books being written on the topic of dissociation. In this study, emphasis was placed on a number of such relevant contributions. The specific characteristics of the dissociated person, practical guidelines for counselling him/her as proposed by psychology, as well as pastoral psychologists were discussed. It became evident that contributions and research in the field from a psychological perspective seem to be much more advanced compared to what has been done by theologians to date. For this reason it is imperative that pastoral counsellors become more acquainted with the theme of dissociation. With regard to methodology, the eclectic approach proved to be the best option. This will enable the pastoral counsellor in hidher guidance of the dissociated person to draw on the wealth and variety of contributions and perspectives fiom both the psychological and the theological domains. As a result of and flowing forth from the basis-theoretical and meta-theoretical perspectives, practice-theoretical guidelines were formulated according to which pastoral guidance can be provided to the dissociated person. Special emphasis was placed on a multidisciplinary approach where full recognition was given to the possible contributions by psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors and others. As part of the preparation for counselling the dissociated person, attention was given to the importance of prayer support. With regard to the counselling process itself, the following five phases appeared to be of significance: introductory prayers, consultation and discussion, prayer as part of the therapeutic process, the development of life skills, and spiritual growth after the therapeutic process. Because of the cultic and ritual abuse that some victims have been exposed to, it is possible that apart from fragmented sub-personalities, demonic influences may also be present. It is thus of extreme importance to distinguish between these two areas, and the counsellor must be well equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to handle this complicated issue. From this study it became evident that there is a special need for pastoral guidance of the dissociated person by counsellors who are well acquainted with the complexities of this field. Scientific knowledge, together with a pastoral focus as well as total dependence upon the therapeutic power of the Holy Spirit, is indeed a 'winning recipe'.
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