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Psychology Counseling

Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties

Intimate Partner Violence, Community Resources, and Faith

by (author) Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark & Robert Pynn

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2015
Counseling, Counseling, Marriage & Family, Social Psychology
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

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To date, little has been published about the place of spirituality in working with survivors of intimate partner violence. Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties examines the intersection of faith and culture in the lives of religious and ethno-cultural women in the context of the work of FaithLink, a unique community initiative that encourages religious leaders and secular service providers to work together. The authors present the benefits of such cooperation by reporting the findings of three qualitative research studies. Individuals in secular and sacral services who work with victims of domestic violence, as well as academics in the fields of social work, psychology, and religious studies, will benefit from the insights, depth of experience, and range of voices represented in this valuable book.

Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark, and The Very Rev. Robert Pynn have brought their professional expertise and experiences to benefit FaithLink at different times and in different capacities. All of the authors live in Calgary except Nason-Clark, who lives in Fredericton.

Sponsored by The Calgary Foundation.

About the authors

Irene Sevcik holds a Ph.D., University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work (1986) and a Masters of Religious Education, Asbury Theological Seminary (1966). Throughout her career, Irene developed and managed intervention programs for children and families, including those affected by intimate partner violence. Prior to her retirement she served as Program Director of FaithLink - a community initiative which built relationships between religious/ethno-cultural communities and secularly-based service providers in collaborative responses to intimate partner violence. Irene's published works include: a working paper (1984) An Ecological Perspective of Child Neglect: Relevant Research Re-ordered: A Service Delivery Model Examine; book chapters (with Nason-Clark, Rothery and Pynn (2011), Finding their Voices and Speaking Out: Research Among Women of Faith in Western Canada; with Reed (2008), Its Everybody's Business; with Nason-Clark, Rothery, Pynn (in press), Caring for the Caregivers: The Efficacy of a Centred Meditation Practice within a Secular Setting); a journal article (with Giesbrecht (2000), The Process of Recovery and Rebuilding Among Abused Women in the Conservative Evangelical Subculture); and many unpublished research and program related reports. She has led numerous discussion groups and developed and offered training to religious organizations regarding the implementation of intimate partner and child sexual abuse protocol guidelines.

Irene Sevcik's profile page

Michael Rothery is a professor emeritus, recently retired from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Social Work. Through most of his career, he taught social work theory, research and practice, while remaining active in the community as a volunteer and scholar. His publications include books on clinical social work practice, family violence and research methods. Throughout his professional and academic career, Mike studied services to vulnerable families, with violence in adult intimate relationships having been an especially strong interest. Introduced by FaithLink to the complexities of human services in the context of the secular/sacral divide, he has, in recent years, devoted time and energy to understanding the relationship between religious and secular helping for people experiencing intimate partner violence.

Michael Rothery's profile page

Nancy Nason-Clark teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate sociology courses in research methods, gender, religion and violence. In more recent years, her research and writing has focussed on issues of violence in the family context and issues of faith or spirituality. Her research program involves a variety of projects examining the relationship between abuse, faith, gender and culture; and has taken her to many parts of the world, most recently to India, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.

Nancy Nason-Clark's profile page

The Very Reverend Robert Pynn was born in Toronto and received his higher education in Boston Massachusetts earning his graduate degree at The Episcopal Theological School in Harvard University. He has lived and worked in Ottawa, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. Since moving to Calgary, Alberta in 1977 he has served as Archdeacon and Dean of the Anglican Diocese as well as Prolocutor of the church's highest national body. Throughout his career he has inspired and helped found many social programs, including Homefront and FaithLink. At a 2006 awares ceremony Dean Pynn was called "the heart and soul of the Domestic Violence Sector." He is presently the Chair of The Trinity Place Foundation of Calgary where he helped initiate and integrated response to the abuse of seniors. Much of his poetry and contemplative reflections have been used by service agencies and read at their Board meetings and gala events. Robert Pynn has received many awards including: The Spirits of God Outstanding Agency Volunteer Award from the United Way; the Alberta Centennial Medal; the Jerry P. Sellinger Community Builders Award; and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has published two collections of poetry: Lifelines and Writing the Wind.

Robert Pynn's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Authors Sevcik, Rothery, Nason-Clark, and Pynn present students, academics, researchers, and professionals working in a wide variety of contexts with an examination of the place of spirituality in working with survivors of domestic abuse. The authors have organized the main body of their text in nine chapters devoted to secular-religious conversations about violence, intimate partner violence, FaithLink, and a wide variety of other related subjects."


"For individuals embedded in a religious tradition, their faith story and community can be a challenge or an asset to their journey to safety and wellbeing. Sacred and secular organizations can find themselves out of sync with each other around the challenge of IPV [Intimate Partner Violence]. Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties reflects on the grass roots practice and transdisciplinary model of FaithLink which effectively linked secular-based service providers and faith communities and so enabled families to move towards safety and health." [Full article at]