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Clergy and Betrayal-Related Stress Open Access


Other title
healing from betrayal
coping with betrayal
work factor stress
personal factor stress
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Tracy Alvin Peter Moore
Supervisor and department
Dr. John Carr
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Phil Zylia
Dr. Wally Frye
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts in Pastoral Psychology and Counselling
Degree level
The purpose of this study was to reflect on betrayal as experienced by clergy, to discover how they deal with the stress in an effort to find something to help clergy through this kind of crisis in their ministry. As much as 25 % of ministers are forced out of, or fired from, a ministry position during their career. This suggests that betrayal is common. For this study, ten co-researchers were interviewed. Their answers were summarized and common themes were discovered. A literature review also uncovered some themes common for stress in the workplace. The main factors causing stress in ministry can be divided into two categories: work factors and personal factors. Betrayal is a special case of work factors which affect different people according to their personalities or personal factors. Burnout which comes from this stress is a wearing down of values, dignity, spirit and will. Among the factors which seem to be significant to the incidence of betrayal for clergy are: high or conflicting expectations, high idealism among clergy, idolization and simultaneous criticism of clergy by members of the congregations, lack of support for clergy, and personality types vulnerable to betrayal. The impact of betrayal for the co-researchers was found primarily in anger and doubts. Coping with, and healing from, betrayal came for the co-researchers through a combination of practices and philosophies.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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File title: I dedicate this thesis to Nancy, my wife, for her love, support, patience, and advice.
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