Changing working conditions in South Africa are currently characterised by various challenges to individuals in the workplace, such as affirmative action, voluntary severance packages and discharges. Discharges are often associated with employment insecurity and threatening loss of employment. Insecurity about employment can be very stressful to remaining workers after a discharge process. Their lack of control over what happens to them, can lead to high levels of stress and deteriorating attitudes in the workplace. Insecurity about employment may last for months or even years and could have a negative influence on not only the “mental health” of the individual worker, but also on their entire existence. A psychological approach to threatening loss of employment on its own is inadequate. The spiritual needs of human beings should also be taken into account. Therefore pastoral care and support should be available to people in order to help them to cope effectively with painful, frustrating and frightening situations. The threat of loss of employment requires a holistic approach to helping. At present holistic approaches include emphases on holistic medicine, meditation, prayer and the role of spiritual healing. Pastoral care is increasingly taking note of what is happening in the secular professions and how it can be supportive. This development challenges the practical theologian to be part of a multi-disciplinary approach when dealing with people who are subject to the threat of loss of employment. The aim of this study is to examine the possibilities of a holistic approach as part of pastoral support to persons experiencing threatening loss of employment. Although pastoral care can benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach to threatening loss of employment, this cooperation is not a simple or straightforward matter. Pastoral care is in need of guidelines for its relationship with psychology and for how to deal with faith in the counselling process. In order to provide some guidelines for pastoral care for individuals who feel a protracted threat of loss of employment, this study will make use of Gerkin’s model for pastoral care which will be brought into dialogue with a cognitive behavioural therapeutic model. Pastoral care should not focus on only “problem-solving”, but the counsellee should experience that healing takes place within the “pastoral relationship”. In this “relationship” the counsellee should always be reassured that human suffering cannot separate people from the love of God as it was revealed in Christ. Pastoral care may never lose sight of the Christian traditions that shaped its identity and should strive for an approach to counselling in which the Bible as testimony to God’s love is taken seriously. Pastoral care should take the lead in involving the Christian community in caring for one another and for the human needs in the wider community. A strong, healing Christian community that is open to the challenges and opportunities in secular society can make a contribution to a global partnership.
Dissertation (MA (Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.