This article examines the conversation between U.S. Protestant ministers and their secular fellow professionals in the years after World War II. Their dialogue reveals that pastoral counselors articulated a therapeutic theory and method that created a parallel discussion about love and marriage which discounted the importance of a domestic imperative for women. Ideas about personal autonomy and self-realization, the part culture played in shaping human personality, and the significance of the female perspective led pastoral counselors to reinterpret women's role and reject both the domestic ideal and negative assumptions about women that typically accompanied it. Pastoral counseling literature demonstrates that the postwar decades were a time of cultural and intellectual ferment in which assumptions about gender were highly contested. It suggests that revisiting psychotherapeutic and religious professional culture provides a more complex picture of postwar intellectual life and women's changing social situation.


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pp. 112-136
Launched on MUSE
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