This book will be of interest to anyone who has religion as part of their childhood experience. It aims to shed objective light on the effect of a religious upbringing on both the child and the adult. Contributors recall memories and draw conclusions about how religious influences have shaped their adult selves in ten autobiographical accounts from Peter Gubi, Catherine Hand, John McCourt, John Rowan, Jane Simmonds, Sharon Stinson, Anni Townend, Wendy Weston and the two editors themselves. Lucy Birtwistle and Lindsay Smith, both experienced counsellors, step back to consider these vibrant accounts of powerful emotions such as guilt and fear as well as love and comfort. They reflect on issues of community, sexuality, spiritual awakening, parental neglect and the role religious parents play in determining a child's perception of God. Religion and particularly its role in childhood can be overlooked in counselling and psychotherapy. The influence of religious dogma, liturgy, symbols and ritual on a still-developing consciousness can too easily be eclipsed by other noisy neighbours.
The editors identify ways in which professionals can better understand the impact of religion in childhood and its implications for their work. Readers can inform their understanding of the relative importance of discussing religion in therapy and how the therapist's own religious background may be as important in building strong therapeutic relationships as the client's.
Publisher: Lucy Birtwistle and Lindsay Smith