Original Research

Love: A philosophy of pastoral care and counselling

Frederick J. Streets
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 35, No 2 | a1323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v35i2.1323 | © 2014 Frederick J. Streets | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 January 2014 | Published: 06 August 2014

About the author(s)

Frederick J. Streets, Yale Divinity School, Yale University, United States of America; School of Social Work, Columbia University, United States of America; Department of Social Work and Latino Community Practice, University of Saint Joseph, United States of America; Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article explored the meaning of love as an ethical principle and the aim of providing pastoral counselling and care. The author, inspired by the work of Professor Julian Müller, applied Paul Tillich’s notion of love to affirm the value of pastoral counselling as a constituent practice and research focus of practical theology. The focus of the discussion was upon love as the primary witness of the church and motivating factor for offering pastoral counselling and care to those who seek it. Distinctions were drawn between psychotherapeutic counselling and pastoral counselling. Müller’s postfoundationalist approach to listening and reflecting upon the work of pastoral counselling and valuing the counselee or co-researcher role as teacher was supported.


Love, pastoral counselling and care, practical theology and postfoundationalism


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