The study is an exploratory investigation of Pentecostal pastors' perceptions on psychological distress, using grounded theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five senior pastors, of Pentecostal churches in Soshanguve township located near Pretoria in South Africa. Data was analysed using open, axial and selective qualitative research methods. Verification of the results by the participants enhanced the validity and reliability of the research. Results indicate that there seems to be certain similarities between the established frameworks in psychology and the worldview of pastors with regard to psychological distress. It seems as if the pastors share common views about psychological distress with the medical, interpersonal and cognitive schools of thought. Therefore, psychological distress would be regarded as impairment in the social and occupational life spheres. The pastors' referral patterns and strategies to deal with religious clients' psychological distress are discussed, as well as their limitations as mental health care workers for their communities. It is suggested that, to bring psychological services to the black community, psychologists form collaborative relationships with Pentecostal pastors.
Thesis (MA(Clinical Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2004.