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Without ever discussing the metaphysical questions, the therapist could suggest to a client that a hex can work only to the extent that individuals provide an opening for it. The therapist could then help the client think about the personal characteristics that made him or her vulnerable to outside powers.
Thus, the therapist is able both to circumvent the therapeutic obstacle and to point an unknowing client toward a different spirituality. A discussion of the ethical ramifications of such covert maneuvers follows. Prohibition against being angry with God. Another instance of dysfunctional religious belief is the notion that one must not be angry with God.
When reinterpreted, anger with God is really anger with life in general; it is to feel the losses, disappointments, and hurts that are an inevitable part of life and to respond in aggressive protest against the whole lot. This reinterpretation reveals how incompatible this religious belief is with effective psychotherapy. This belief blocks emotions, and to block them is to prevent integration and healing.
The caring therapist must oppose such a belief, for, in the name of religion and God, it hampers human well-being. Entering into the client's worldview and using the client's religious symbol system but with a precise psychotherapeutic strategy in mind, a therapist can respond to this spiritual matter by giving the client permission to be angry with God. The therapist can note that others have done it and that God is big and loving enough to deal with the anger.
Going further, a therapist can appeal to basic honesty: the client should be honest, especially with God. And since the client is hurt and angry and since God would already know that, the more honest approach would be to admit the anger, express its intensity, and discuss the matter with God. This, then, is the psychotherapeutic payoff: under these circumstances the client may be willing to admit and face pervasive frustration and anger about his or her life. Here, as elsewhere, the key is to draw out from the client's relationship with God its spiritual core, in this case, the client's anguished inability to find satisfaction, meaning, and purpose in life.
This core, unlike the client's relationship with God, per se, is amenable to secular psychotherapeutic intervention. Therapists will also be aware that, behind this religious issue of anger with God, is the issue of the client's own learned understanding of what is permissible in communication between intimates. An array of standard psychodynamic issues is tied up in the bag of one's relationship with God McDargh, ; Rizzuto, To address these issues entails dissolving the humanly destructive facets of the client's spirituality, just as a therapist would help a client work through some other emotional issue.
Understanding the mental structures, processes, and mechanisms of spirituality, as explained above, equips the secular therapist to do so. Prohibition against questioning.
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Similar to the prohibition of anger with God is another facet of some religion, especially the fundamentalist type Bawer, It prohibits questioning, inquiry, reading, and challenging thought, as well as exploration of inner experiences. In the face of such universal close-mindedness, which violates the transcendental precepts, therapy is unlikely to make much progress. A secular therapist is unlikely to encounter such a believer, for in most instances the very use of secular psychotherapy would be contrary to such religion Rayburn, But when such a client needs to approach secular psychotherapy, from the outset the therapist and client will have to come to some agreement about the challenge that will be part of the therapeutic process Tjeltveit, This initial contract gives the therapist the opening needed to address the matter of open-mindedness when it surfaces in the treatment of specific issues.
In some way, each of these motivations expresses the humanistic core of spirituality, as sketched above: openness, seeking, honesty, and surrender to the sources of self-transcendence that are built into the human mind. That list of motivations suggests the precarious and far-reaching nature of engaging a person's spirituality.
At stake is a fundamental shift in worldview, philosophy, belief, religion. The shift is from reliance on an external authority that provides an all-too-clear picture of life to reliance on an internal process that continuously self-adjusts to find a fit between internal and external reality. This shift implicates not only one's personal world of meaning and value but also the social world of affiliation and support. In purely psychological terms developmental theorists have focused on that very shift Fowler, ; Helminiak, ; Kohlberg, ; Loevinger, A number of the implications of the shift follow.
A matter that is presented in religious terms contains a core of developmental issues. Thus, working through the religious issues in a religious context effects psychological growth; conversely, one can treat psychotherapeutically the developmental issues that are at the core of the religious issues. When it is recognized that the human being is inherently spiritual, psychological growth in anyone, religious or not, can rightly be affirmed as a spiritual process.
In the religious person, therefore, mature religion and psychological health should coincide. These considerations help elucidate the intent of this article. When the spiritual is understood as, in the first place, a generic human reality, and not necessarily something specifically religious or theist, on the one hand, all competent psychotherapy is seen as actually effecting spiritual growth.
As academic disciplines, adequate psychology and spirituality are one and the same. Equating inner peace with the will of God. One last example, which lies on the opposite end of the religious spectrum, is the case of a client who was familiar with spiritual writings and in some regards was deeply sensitive to inner experience. Rather than be locked into external social or religious requirements, this client appealed to his own inner peace as the final indicator of the will of God and in so doing had the support of many a classical spiritual writer e.
This one-sided criterion might have been sufficient if the client were a hermit in the ancient desert. The only problem was that he was married and on the verge of divorce, had children and a job, and lived in a late-twentieth century metropolis.
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Counseling revealed that the client had a severely narcissistic personality and carried a burden of isolation and abandonment from growing up in a large middle-class family in which practical needs for survival superseded personal needs for belonging. The desert spirituality of "peaceful presence with God" served to meet the needs of his deeply aching heart and, through isolation, protected him from further hurt. Of course, that client's understanding was a grossly romanticized portrayal of the desert experience, which actually requires facing oneself quite nakedly, a challenge that is similar to contemporary psychotherapy.
Although needing to proceed with utmost care, a therapist would be irresponsible to allow that counter-productive spirituality to stand completely unchallenged. But it must be left to the creativity of experienced therapists to determine how they would deal with this case. It is introduced to challenge an overly simplistic understanding of spirituality that would assume that cultivation of inner experience is the universal key to spiritual growth. Even though spiritual practices are geared toward enhancing inner experience, mere richness of inner experience is no guarantee of spiritual and psychological health.
An understanding of these matters on the basis of known human mental processes compels the competent psychotherapist to take a stand, even if only in his or her own mind. The therapist can then build on the positive elements in the client's religious beliefs and practices and direct the client away from those that are self-debilitating. Further Considerations about Spirituality in Psychotherapy. I have discussed three approaches to addressing spirituality in psychotherapy: validation, reinterpretation, and rejection.
The treatment may appear facile or even irreverent. Breaking a taboo in U. This treatment claims the right to make such judgments on the basis of an elaborated account of spirituality. Once the core of spirituality is discerned and formulated normatively, a powerful tool is available. It not only allows the competent treatment of spiritual matters in secular psychotherapy. It also allows incisive criticism of spiritual matters that are attached to religion. Developments in the medical field provide an analogous case.
An understanding of infection allows not only the prescription of appropriate antibiotics but also the criticism of hallowed folk practices that are unhygienic. Similarly, a breakthrough in the understanding of spirituality reconfigures the relationship between psychology and religion. Such a breakthrough is what Lonergan's , analysis of the human spirit seems to allow, and it is the foundation of the present attempt to develop a psychology of spirituality.
Every psychotherapeutic system entails an implicit metaphysical worldview Bergin et al. The present approach is merely quite direct about the matter, quite explicit about the criteria of assessment it uses, and quite bold in claiming a unique validity for its criteria. This forthrightness makes judgments relatively easy, but granted the overall analysis, the conclusions are far from superficial. The key to the matter is the articulation of a coherent and comprehensive psychology of spirituality Helminiak, a, -- including a the differentiation of psyche and spirit within the human mind, b the elaboration of spirit as structured on four levels, c the normativity of spirit as expressed in the transcendental precepts, d the on-going integration of spirit and psyche as the substance of spiritual growth, and e the self-transcending nature of this process that is open to theist extrapolation and to elaboration in a wide range of religious formulations.
There is the further consideration that anyone who would oppose this approach in the name of genuine openness, tolerance, and pluralism, is in practice only demonstrating its validity and exemplifying its intent by urging further discussion toward a shared, correct understanding Kane, , ; Lonergan, , pp. Much of what I have presented may appear to be covert pastoral counseling, but there is a difference. Pastoral counseling is psychotherapy that goes on within the explicit context of the shared faith of an organized religion Clinebell, ; Crabb, , ; Rayburn, ; Wicks, The shared religion has a tradition of beliefs, symbols, rituals, ethics, and texts.
Sharing this tradition with the client, the skilled pastoral counselor may easily use any of its elements to make the therapeutic intervention. For example, knowing the Gospels, the therapist can cite the example of Peter, who repented of denying Jesus, to cancel a client's identification with Judas, who hung himself after betraying Jesus. The pastoral counselor uses the client's religion to effect wholesome change. Thus, validation, reinterpretation, and rejection of spirituality proceed within the boundaries of the mutually accepted religion. The approach I have described is similar because it sometimes also appeals to various facets of religion to reinterpret or reject certain other facets.
This approach presupposes more knowledge about religion than has been indicated. Nonetheless, therapists can learn the intricacies of a client's religion by asking, listening, and reading Lovinger, , ; Shafranske, ; Stern, Knowledge about someone's religion is not the key issue. More important is a psychological understanding of spirituality within which to situate the specifics of the client's religion.
To supply this understanding as a generic, humanist, and normative analysis is the novelty in the approach I have described. This novelty allows three dimensions that pastoral counseling does not: a sorting out and interrelating the theist and humanist facets of the religion; b conceptualizing the religion's spiritual wisdom in humanist terms -- which is to say, coherently integrating psychology and religion; and c identifying and correcting pathological facets of the religion. Psychotherapy that addresses spirituality only on the basis of openness to, and respect for, every client's religious beliefs Bergin et al.
The client's religion must be respected. Modifying it is a delicate undertaking that calls for sensitive care Bergin et al. Treating spirituality in psychotherapy involves adjusting the client's credo and commitments; it involves revamping a client's meaning-and-value system. Of course, by its very nature, psychotherapy does so all the time.
Naming the matter merely highlights the sacredness of the psychotherapeutic project. Dismantling people's meaning systems means leading people, at least temporarily, to face the void. It means turning them toward the existential angst of open-ended freedom Yalom, and helping them in the face of this angst to find new meaning and purpose in life. This is challenging and scary stuff. Religion usually provides the compass and comrades for life's journey. Disqualifying people's religion by transforming their spirituality is a dangerous enterprise.
As long as a client's religious worldview is not a threat to self or others, the therapist ought not challenge it, unless, of course, there is reasonable assurance that something better can replace it. In spiritual matters as in all others, good clinical judgment requires that one not push clients where they do not want, or are likely unable, to go. In these matters the successful therapist will be more than psychotherapeutically trained, at least if psychotherapeutic is taken in the standard sense of the term Tjeltveit, , The analysis here, transforming the meaning of spiritual , suggests that good psychotherapy includes spirituality at its core.
Psychotherapeutic training must, therefore, include what the religious traditions have called spiritual formation. Without it, the therapist can treat people only as one fixes machines. This approach might work to help clients meet the minimalist mental-health standards of appropriate demeanor and employability, but it is not sufficient for internal healing, core personal stability, and a life worthy of a human being. Addressing matters of spirituality, therapists themselves must be on the spiritual path Clinebell, , pp.
Revamping a meaning-and-value system is a frightening and precarious enterprise. If therapists have never lived with loss, uncertainty, and emptiness, if they have never peered into the void, not only will they not understand the client's pain, they will run from these issues as from brush fire. This is not to say that every therapist must have passed through the classic "dark night of the soul" Conn , , pp.
It is to say that, to the extent therapists have actually faced life's big questions, they will be better able to help others who are facing these same universal human questions. The capacity to live with openness, ambiguity, and uncertainty is a measure of advanced development Loevinger, Only a person with this capacity can be quietly and securely open to another human being who is facing these same monsters. Only a person of advanced integration i. As the Scholastic axiom had it, Nemo dat quod non habet: No one can give what he or she does not have.
The work of psychotherapy is really a ministry of spiritual healing. By the same token, if therapists are going to do more than sit smugly with anguished clients and then send them on their way, the therapists themselves must be genuine models of the new vision of life proposed to the clients. Spirituality does not flourish in isolation; people on the spiritual path need fellow travelers. This is not to suggest that the therapist become friend and family to the client, but as the guru, spiritual leader, or saint functions in religious circles, the therapist will almost inevitably become the initial embodiment of an ideal that the client will want to follow Corey, , p.
So the therapist, at least in his or her professional encounters, must genuinely be a model of enviable serenity that paradoxically, but understandably, only in discrete self-disclosure Corey, , pp. In many ways, this is the model that much standard psychotherapeutic theory has already projected.
The present discussion merely highlights the far-reaching implications of psychotherapeutic practice. This article makes it clear that the more effective psychotherapist will be the one who is more deeply authentic, more spiritually integrated. That is, the effective psychotherapist is honestly open to marvel and question, sure of where he or she stands on this matter, and securely committed to wholesome values.
This is not just a professional facade that would allow one to deal with clients cleanly and efficiently and to collect one's standard fee. Jesus' contrast John between the hireling and the good shepherd provides a relevant image. Appeal to this religious image suggests once again what is at stake in this whole discussion: the radical transformation of aspects of traditional religion into a secular form that respects the distinctiveness, while embodying the humanist core, of the engendering religion i. In discussing the role of spirituality in psychotherapy, I have summarized a fully psychological theory of spirituality, applied it in specific examples, and discussed its implications.
Thus, I have suggested ways in which an integration of secular psychotherapy and spirituality might be achieved without exceeding the professional competence of secular therapy or diluting the meaning of the term spirituality. I have clarified the humanist core of spirituality as it relates to, and is operative in, effective psychotherapy.
This clarification may be helpful, for people tend to function more effectively when they know what they are about. In the case of psychotherapy, I have used the term effective to imply facilitation of lasting and wholesome change in people. Understood in this way, psychotherapy cannot be effective unless it attends to spiritual matters.
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Spirituality: A credible scientific approach? Towards a science of spirituality: Six arguments for a authenticity oriented approach to research and therapy. A credible scientific spirituality: Can it contribute to wellness, prevention, and recovery? Harris, W. Harris Eds. Prevention and human aging pp. Fowler, J. Stages of faith: The psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. Frankl, V. Man's search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy revised and enlarged ed. New York: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster. The will to meaning: Foundations and applications of logotherapy.
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Ignatius of Loyola The spiritual exercises of St. New York: Doubleday. Institute of Logotherapy Principles of logotherapy. International Forum of Logotherapy, 2, Jeeves, M. The scientific enterprise and Christian faith. Johnston , W.
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Silent music: The science of meditation. Jones, S. A constructive relationship for religion with the science and profession of psychology: Perhaps the boldest model yet. American Psychologist, 49, Kane, R. Through the moral maze: Searching for absolute values in a pluralistic world. New York: Paragon House, Speaker The quest for meaning: Values, ethics, and the modern experience [Cassette recording].
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Jung on Psychotherapy, Spirituality and Sources of Healing
Piaget, J. The origins of intelligence in children. New York: Norton Library. Rayburn, C. The religious patient's initial encounter with psychotherapy. Stern Ed. New York: Hawthorn Press. Richardson, F. Re-envisioning psychology: Moral dimensions of theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Individualism and social interest. Individual Psychology, 47, Welcome to my Psychedelics Therapy, Theory, and Policy page. Below you will find links to my writing, talks, and interviews. I welcome your questions or comments.
Talks and Interviews:. Video of event coming soon. Click here to watch! Keep an eye out for information about our conference later this year. The entire conference lasted from September th. I was the featured guest on the C-Realm podcast in the last week of September: Click here to watch! The other speakers were Rick Dolblin, Ph. D and one talk with Michael Mithoefer, M.
I do a lot of public speaking on personality development, psychotherapy and change, psychedelics research and policy, and the integral future of society, including grand rounds at NYU Medical School, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The New York Open Center, and lots more. Please e-mail me for the PowerPoint presentations. Here is a short six minute interview I did in on the spiral of integral cultural evolution.
These presentations are available, please e-mail me. Rediscovered" from the Horizons conference:. Here is a clip from the documentary website. Mushroom Trip - Part 1. Mushroom Trip - Part 2. Here is my "Human Detours" interview from a very personal interview. There are six segments and they get better as we get warmed up! With the lure of money, the corporate world snatched him up until he couldn't ignore that voice within his soul any longer. Of course, the use of psychedelics helped get him there. Find out how! These talks are available, please e-mail me!