Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 65, Issue 6, pp 835–848 | Cite as

Juxtaposition or “the Powers of Two”: A Tribute to Donald Capps in Conversation with Oliver Sacks



This essay focuses on Donald Capps’s proposal of juxtaposition as a method of pastoral theological reflection and the lessons that the author has learned from borrowing Capps’s method both as a scholar and a teacher. Resistance to psychological insights or theory is something that the author frequently encounters in teaching pastoral care courses. The use of juxtaposition, as Capps first presented it, has provided her with resources for overcoming resistance in ways that invite creativity and openness to learning by beginning with or improvising with metaphors, musical elements, or stories and movies focused on everyday life that are frequently more familiar to students than psychological theory. In this essay, the author juxtaposes the significance of story as employed by Donald Capps and Oliver Sacks in a “creative conversation” that is more realistically about the “powers of three.”


Donald Capps Creativity Imagination Improvisation Juxtaposition Oliver Sacks Joshua Wolf Shenk Story Tribute 


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnheim, R. (1998). The power of the center: A study of composition in the visual arts. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Capps, D. (1998). Living stories: Pastoral counseling in congregational context. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress.Google Scholar
  4. Capps, D. (1999). The lessons of art theory for pastoral theology. Pastoral Psychology, 47, 321–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Capps, D. (2001). Giving counsel: A minister’s guidebook. St. Louis: Chalice Press.Google Scholar
  6. Capps, D. (2003). Biblical approaches to pastoral counseling. Eugene: Wipf and Stock.Google Scholar
  7. Capps, D. (2005). Fragile connections: Memoirs of mental illness for pastoral care professionals. St. Louis: Chalice.Google Scholar
  8. Capps, D. (2010). Understanding psychosis: Issues, treatments, and challenges for sufferers and their families. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  9. Capps, D. (2014). Still growing: The creative self in older adulthood. Eugene: Wipf and Stock.Google Scholar
  10. Capps, D. (2015). The religious life: The insights of William James. Eugene: Wipf and Stock.Google Scholar
  11. Cowles, G. (2015, August 31). Oliver sacks, neurologist who wrote about the brain’s quirks, dies at 82. The New York Times, B6.Google Scholar
  12. Goode, E. (2015, September 1). Diverse elements in harmony. The New York Times, D2.Google Scholar
  13. Govig, S. D. (1994). Souls are made of endurance: Surviving mental illness in the family. Louisville: Westminster John Knox.Google Scholar
  14. Govig, S. D. (1999). In the shadow of our steeples: Pastoral presence for families coping with mental illness. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kakutani, M. (2015, August 31). Doctor who found magic in the disorders of the human mind. The New York Times, A1, B7.Google Scholar
  16. Roberts, J. (1994). Tales and transformations: Stories in families and family therapy. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  17. Sacks, O. (2007). Musicophilia: Tales of music and the brain. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  18. Sacks, O. (2012). Hallucinations. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  19. Sacks, O. (2015a). Gratitude. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  20. Sacks, O. (2015b). On the move: A life. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  21. Schweitzer, C. L. S. (2009). When “living stories” encounter the living word. Pastoral Psychology, 58, 629–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schweitzer, C. L. S. (2010). The stranger’s voice: Julia Kristeva’s relevance for a pastoral theology for women struggling with depression. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  23. Schweitzer, C. L. S. (2011). Text and tune, speaking and listening: Musical resources in pastoral care. Pastoral Psychology, 60, 311–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schweitzer, C. L. S. (2014). Tempo and temperament: A music lesson on the significance of time for the art of pastoral care. Pastoral Psychology, 63, 719–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sendak, M. (2012). Where the wild things are. (50th anniversary ed.). New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  26. Shenk, J. W. (2015). Powers of two: How relationships drive creativity. New York: Mariner.Google Scholar
  27. Shorter Oxford English dictionary. (2007). (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Union Presbyterian SeminaryRichmondUSA

Personalised recommendations