Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Pastoral Imagination

  • Dominick D. HankleEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_200091


The phrase pastoral imagination was first used by Craig Dykstra to describe a certain way of being and performing pastoral ministry. The term can be misleading because when one reads the word “imagination,” they are quickly drawn to a concise psychological construct defined as the process used to produce images, thoughts, ideas, and sensations, as well as factual and counterfactual alternatives to the reality in which one exists. It can imply a creative process where one allows diverse images to converge on an experience to create something new or simply a mundane process used to escape one’s sense of boredom by creating a pleasant distraction (Ward et al. 1997). Likewise, the term “pastoral” conjures up images of one who ministers to a religious community such as a rabbi, imam, Christian minister, priest, etc. However, the term pastoral imagination does have a specific meaning when discussing the manner in which men and women in pastoral studies develop into working...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regent University College of Arts and Science Undergraduate PsychologyVirginia BeachUSA