Top positive review
Excellent, well-written, worthwhile read!
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2016
I purchased this book after hearing the author speak at a conference, and to contribute to my studies of abusive churches/cults. Daniel Shaw present two ideas that I found particularly powerful and enlightening in this book.
1. There is a type of narcissist rightly called a "traumatizing narcissist"; one who transfers his/her shame/inadequacy/fear, etc., out of himself/herself, and onto those whom he/she relates to. Shaw's perspective is primarily shaped through his observations as a psychoanalyst, but readily applies to the more severe instances of pastoral/spiritual abuse found in some churches. The book contributed greatly to my studies of false teachers/false prophets in Christian churches.
2. A worthy goal in people-helping is to seek a healthy expression of what Shaw terms "analytic love." This is a relationship goal in which both the client and the analyst relate as equals in a mutually respectful relationship marked by consideration, kindness, empathy, and equality. Shaw's primary focus is to address and criticize the coldness of a professional relationship in the counseling environment, in which the counseled is de facto "under" the care and authority of the counselor. The counselor (in this defective system) may express superiority, lack of love/concern, etc., in any number of subtle (and not so subtle) ways, perpetuating the distance between the "helper" and the one being helped. In doing so, the counselor often creates the same conditions of which the client/patient is seeking to recover from: an absence of love and protection from care-givers.
I did not expect to find what is (to me) such a clear indictment of the tendency to relate as an authority figure in pastoral counseling, in such a way that creates distance between the member and the pastor, and prohibits a genuine, relational, therapeutic engagement that best expresses the Christian goal of edification and agape love. While this is not a Christian book, and the author's beliefs regarding faith are not revealed--it is a clear and insightful (though unintended) presentation of a healthy, Christ-like model of pastoral care. Highly recommended.