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Pastoral Counselling in a Changing Samoa: Development, Christianity and Relationality

Alesana Pala’amo


In Samoa, development and Christianity are pervasive and dynamic features of social life, and they are also entangled together in complex ways. This article reviews these entanglements by examining counselling as a form of pastoral practice. Counselling involves interventions that seek to facilitate, amend and restore people’s relationships. The purpose of counselling in Samoa is to provide assistance in navigating the relational space between people, or vā, in the context of ongoing dynamic change. Counselling is a useful point of entry into research on development and Christianity because both have relational effects; they are experienced in and through relationships and relational reconfigurations. Drawing on my research into counselling services by Samoan pastors, I argue that faith-based counselling should be seen as a potentially significant actor in the provision of counselling services on into the future.


Christianity, development, Samoa, Pacific, counselling, relationality, vā

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