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This section of the Journal attempts to keep readers informed of current resources of an integrative nature or those related to the general field of the psychology of religion appearing in other professional journals. A wide range of psychological and theological journals are surveyed regularly in search of such resources. The editor of the Journal File welcomes correspondence from readers concerning relevant theoretical or research articles in domestic or foreign journals which contribute directly or indirectly to the task and process of integration and to an understanding of the psychology of religion.

PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY

Sorenson, R. L. (2004).

Kenosis and alterity in christian spirituality

Vol. 21 (3), 458-462

The author promotes that kenosis (self-emptying) and alterity (otherness) are central elements of Christian spirituality that also have potential relevance for psychoanalytic practice. Instead of viewing spirituality as a product of psychoanalysis, which is currently the most common perspective, the author imagines neither psychoanalysis nor spirituality as the cause of the other; he sees both as parallel and complementary approaches towards alleviating problems in living. Then, Sorenson describes a third and rarely entertained possibility that reverses the common ordering and considers how spirituality might influence our own psychology and how we work clinically. Using kenosis and alterity, he illustrates how spirituality can affect and have relevance for psychotherapeutic practice.

The word kenosis appears in a hymn that was sung in the first century of the Christian church. It describes how Jesus, who, through God, emptied himself of His divine power (Phil. 2). Christianity is not unique in affirming this virtue; many other religions, like Buddhism, also do. The author describes how kenosis is central to human flourishing, or as Thomas Moore calls being empty of ego: "Jealousy empty of ego is passion. Inferiority empty of ego is humility. Narcissism empty of ego is love of one's soul."

The most prominent Christian text about alterity (otherness) is Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus tells this parable after being asked, "who is my neighbor." Through the parable, Jesus redefined neighbor in terms of praxis, not proximity. Clinically, of course, we experience alterity even within ourselves, not just between us and other people. Sorenson describes a therapeutic challenge of extending neighbor love to disowned or distal regions of ourselves, as well as to others. Ironically, if we are to love our neighbors the way we love ourselves, sometimes that is just the problem: We can be as brutally dismissive or mindless of aspects in ourselves that are robbed, beaten, and laying unconscious, as we are of these aspects in other people.

Kenosis means self-emptying, but it is not exactly the same thing as emotional absence. It is a sort of emptying that paradoxically permits a different kind of fullness, much like Moore's passion, humility, and love for one's soul. Also kenosis is not synonymous with spinelessness, but it has a way of enfolding alterity: the "me" and the "not me" end up being more related than is initially apparent.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND MENTAL HEALTH

Cervantes, J. M., & Parham, T. A. (2005).

Toward a meaningful spirituality for people of color: Lessons for the counseling practitioner

Vol. 11 (1), 69-81

This article attempts to capture a significant aspect of the counseling process for people of color: the spiritual dimension. It is argued that spirit and spirituality are relevant dimensions that should be integrated in counseling because spirituality is a key ingredient in the cultural upbringing and socialization of many people of color. But the intersection of cultural diversity and spirituality is a relationship that has not been well described in the mainstream literature, and there are no specific references about how to assist clients with this integration.

The authors promote that psychologists need to delineate several assumptions that can guide our thinking about spirituality within the context of a colored individual's life. First, there is a spiritual essence that permeates everything that exists in the universe. Second, the source of one's 'spiritness' is Divine. Third, spirituality exists before, after, and beyond material existence.

Because spirituality is the energy force and power in people, it helps to further define the nature of human beingness. Spirituality then becomes connected to authentic personhood by providing a connectedness to the Divine source within the universe. For persons of color, spirituality provides and affirms a sense of power, by acknowledging each person's ability to transform and transcend situational circumstances in ways that are beneficial for the individual. Spirituality also provides an assured sense of purpose, by instigating an alignment between one's consciousness and one's destiny.

Further, religious and spiritual beliefs are affected by experiences of racism and oppression, which then affect psychological coping. One's relationship to spiritual meaning is significantly altered by continuous life events of racism and oppression that compromise an individual's social, emotional, mental and community functioning. Therefore, a multicultural understanding of spirituality emphasizes the importance of contextualizing the relevance of an individual life history. Lastly, the authors offer many reflective guidelines to aid in understanding the essence of spirituality and cultural diversity.

CANADIAN PSYCHOLOGY

Gall, T., Charbonneau, C., Clarke, N., Grant, K., Joseph, A., & Shouldice, L. (2005). Understanding the nature and role of spirituality in relation to coping and health: A conceptual framework

Vol. 46 (2), 88-104

The purpose of this article is to organize and integrate the diverse findings and concepts found within psychological literature into a conceptual model of the role of spirituality in coping. The authors describe how most of the research in the area of religion, spirituality, coping, and health has remained at the descriptive level of analysis. It has only been within the past few years that more complex associations, pathways, and possible models concerning the influence of religion and/or spirituality on health have been investigated. One of these is the transactional model of stress and coping put forth by Lazarus and Folkman (1984).

The authors use the basic tenets and structural components of the transactional model as a framework for the integration of the growing empirical literature on spirituality, coping, and health. Like the concept of personality, spirituality is considered to be a complex, multifaceted construct that manifests in the process of an individual's behavior, beliefs, and experience. Specifically, this model is seen to be dynamic, relational, phenomenological, transactional, and process-oriented. Spirituality can operate at several levels of the stress and coping process at any one point in time. It can function at the level of person factors (e.g., beliefs), primary and secondary appraisals (e.g., God attributions), coping behaviors (e.g., prayer), coping resources (e.g., nature), and meaning-making (e.g., spiritual reappraisal).

The resultant application of the presented model in the spiritual context was reviewed by four spiritual care workers and/or chaplains from different religious backgrounds. These multi-faith chaplains critiqued the "fit" of this model in relation to their understanding of health and coping, and offered suggestions on modifications to the model that would create a better fit. Lastly, the authors present implications for future research.

PSYCHOTHERAPY: THEORY, RESEARCH, PRACTICE, TRAINING

Smith, D. P., & Orlinsky, D. E. (2004). Religious and spiritual experience among psychotherapists

Vol. 41 (2), 144-151

Psychology and its practitioners have historically been seen as part of the process of secularization of modern culture. However, recent research has challenged this stereotype. This article contributes to the literature on the religious and spiritual character of psychotherapists by using a version of the Development of Psychotherapists Common Core Questionnaire (DPCCQ) to collect information on the religiosity and professional characteristics of 975 international psychotherapists from New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Two independent dimensions of therapists' religious and spiritual experiences were identified and replicated across multiple subsamples. The two questions the research addressed were (a) What does religion mean to psychotherapists? and (b) Do these meanings vary according to therapists' stated religious affiliation, gender, age, and profession?

A summary of the most recent studies on this topic suggest that, although some mental health professionals are overtly religious in a traditional sense, many more may be religious in a manner that is less traditional or less overt than many measures of religiosity have indicated. Thus, the religiosity of mental health professionals is likely to be more adequately understood in terms of various dimensions of religiosity and spirituality.

The results of this study raise interesting issues regarding the view that psychotherapists are generally secular. A typology derived from the dimensions of the DPCCQ showed that 51% of therapists exhibited a pattern definable as Personal Spirituality, 27% exhibited a pattern of Religious Spirituality, and only 21% exhibited a pattern of Secular Morality. The results clearly challenge the dominant image of psychotherapists as adamantly secular and critical of religion. The nature of religiosity among psychotherapists is multifaceted and more complex than suggested by a simple distinction between secular and religious orientations.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF STRESS MANAGEMENT

Dierendonck, D., Garssen, B., & Visser, A. (2005). Burnout prevention through personal growth

Vol. 12 (1), 62-77

This study evaluated the effects of a burnout prevention program specifically aimed at highly motivated individuals in the danger zone for burnout and was based on insights from transpersonal psychology, notably psychosynthesis. Most of the previous burnout prevention programs have been cognitive-behaviorally oriented, aiming at cognitive restructuring, didactic stress management, and relaxation. Because these programs have primarily focused on reducing arousal, it is therefore not surprising that the effects of such cognitive-behavioral programs are often limited to reducing exhaustion.

The construct burnout is generally operationalized as a three-dimensional syndrome, including exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. A prevention program should therefore aim at improving all three dimensions, taking into account the fullness of the burnout syndrome. This goal can be achieved by explicit attention to personal growth and human values.

The authors developed a program that specifically targets personal growth and ways to experience more meaning in lifefactors that are important for positive-oriented and healthy persons. Their study examined the effects of the program on burnout, happiness, spirituality, emotional intelligence, and relative deprivation with respect to one's career. Thirty-eight individuals, mostly with a background in engineering, participated in a 10-day program over three months. A comparison group of similar age and work experience was recruited of colleagues from the same firms and departments. Both groups filled out questionnaires at three time points: before the start of the program, immediately after the program, and nine months later.

Contrasted with the comparison group, the intervention group showed a decrease in exhaustion, and an increase in job efficacy, happiness, clarity of emotions, meaning in life, inner resources, and transcendence. These effects were stable over a period of six months. No significant changes were found for cynicism, relative deprivation, or attention to emotions. Results of this study showed that a psychosynthesis-based prevention program might be an effective instrument in reducing burnout and enhancing happiness, emotional intelligence, and feelings of spirituality.

FURTHER READINGS:

Assagioli, R. (1965). Psychosynthesis: A manual of principles and techniques. New York: The Viking Press.

Blaine, B., Trivedi, P. & Eshleman, A. (1998). Religious belief and the self-concept: Evaluating the implications for psychological adjustment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24 (10), 1040-1052.

Emmons, R. A. (1999). The psychology of ultimate concerns. New York: Guilford Press.

Ferrucci, P. (1993). What we may be: Techniques for psychological and spiritual growth through psychosynthesis. New York: Tarcher.

Folkman, S. (1997). Positive psychological states and coping with severe stress. Social Science and Medicine, 45, 1207-1221.

Gerard, R. (1964). Psychosynthesis: A psychotherapy for the whole man. New York: Psychosynthesis Research Foundation.
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Title Annotation:religious affect on children psychology
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2005
Words:1903
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