This multidisciplinary study, which includes Practical Theology and also insights from Psychology and Sociology, investigates experiences of abuse in social structures such as the church. My epistemological approach is social constructionist. Psychological theories employed are the social constructivist personal construct theory of George Kelly and Gergen's social constructionist theorization. Kelly's theory posits that people construct their own realities in social settings, such as family, culture and everyday social structures. This takes place on a cognitive level through the nervous system. By means of Gergen’s social constructionist theorization the role that social constructions (beliefs and practices) play in (often unintentional) abusive practices in social structures as well as the experiences of victims, is explained. Sociological theories included are Berger and Luckmann’s theory of the social construction of reality as well as Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory, which emphasizes agency (human action) and structure tensions in social structures. I argue that processes such as typification, reification and structuration, as explained by these theorists can result in abusive actions and behaviours (often unintentional) and experiences of abuse by people in groups. In addition, the lives and teachings of Jesus and Paul are examined from a social constructionist perspective. A qualitative investigation was conducted with participants who claim to have experienced abuse in groups. Their stories are used as case studies. A narrative thematic analysis reveals that dominant discourses, for example patriarchal worldviews and belief systems which go unexamined, are often imposed on others which results in experiences of abuse. The study is therefore embedded in a postmodern, social constructionist narrative framework constructed from all three disciplines. Traditions, belief systems and practices should be reflected upon, carefully examined and revisited, and not simply accepted as "reality". Reality is constructed in social interaction and relationship and should be open to review and change should the need arise, prompted by, for example, unacceptable phenomena, such as experiences of abuse in the church. The findings of this study are that the church and pastoral care ministry are often experienced as uncaring and abusive. Underlying dominant discourses should be exposed, since they contribute to practices that cause psychological, social and physical traumatisation and consequences for people. Pastoral care is often neglected because these actions and behaviours are regarded as "normal" and even "biblical". People are labelled and blamed. Male domination, objectification, humiliation, abuse of power and control, misuse of knowledge and truth claims are the consequence. The study revealed a strong correlation between participants’ experiences of abuse and the social constructionist constructs. Therefore social constructionist theory offers an adequate explanation for experiences and actions of abuse in the church.