Studies indicate that the influence of institutionalised religion is waning in most Western nations. In contrast, personal, spiritual, and subjective approaches to faith are on the rise. The latter may or may not relate to traditional Christian frameworks. These trends are most apparent with the aging ‘baby boomer’ population, thus changing notions of pastoral care in many countries. Counselling, as a secular and scientific modality, is well placed to meet the needs of a highly educated and articulate aging population whose values are, in many ways, representative of ‘post-Christian’ and ‘post-colonial’ worldviews. Exploring the applications of counselling in dialogue with pastoral care for the aging is a new area for practice and research. This paper explores these issues in light of a wholistic model of counselling that honours how meaning and spirituality are constructed in everyday life through personal and social experiences. This is accomplished through analysis of the social construction of aging via discursive techniques of difference, also admitting the post-secular. Issues of meaning are highlighted that place aging, counselling, and pastoral care into wider social and historical contexts. Deconstructing aging in the postmodern includes articulation of a postmodern transcendental method in critical social analysis, including acknowledgement of theological and philosophical issues. The discussion concludes with suggesting a queer critical social analysis to assist in understanding the politics of aging.
Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health / Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.65-85