“Leaking Roofs Matter.” Responding to Pamela Cooper-White’s Shared Wisdom: Use of the self in pastoral care and counseling. Person, Culture, and Religion Pre-session, American Academy of Religion, Philadelphia, PA, November 18, 2005
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It was 3:00 in the afternoon. Time for me to meet with Jim and Holly. We had met once before, and now our second session was to begin.
A part of me wondered if they would show up. Being in the early stages of my pastoral counseling training, I was warned not to take it personally if people did not return for a second session. It just meant they were not ready for therapy.
A part of me wished they would not show up. Couples are hard to work with. Especially when they are impoverished, verbally unsophisticated, speak with a thick Southern drawl, are late for their first (and second) session, and most troubling to me, are volatile and angry.
Fifteen minutes into the hour, they did turn up. Marshalling my most empathic and professional voice, I said, “So, how are you feeling today?”
It was Holly who made the opening gambit. “When the roof keeps leaking and there is no money to fix it, and he curses you out, as if it was your fault; and then the knee gives out on him and he...