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Journal file.

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.

JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY AND CHRISTIANITY

Hoffman, M. (2010). Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection in Psychoanalytic Thought Vol. 29, 121-129

Where Christ's incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection was needed to break the perpetuation of the "sins of the fathers," in psychotherapy, "incarnation in the form of enactment" is often necessitated for the "breaking of old object ties, and the experiencing of a new creation" (p. 121). Hoffman explains the historical and current utilization of enactment in various therapeutic modalities. A therapy session is then examined in-depth to illustrate the concepts of enactment and incarnation.

Hoffman sought to provide a general understanding of how enactment has been utilized historically, as well as presently, in family therapy, group therapy, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience. In family therapy, the therapist encourages the family to enact typical family dynamics in-session for the purpose of assessment and correction. In group therapy, enactment is often utilized in the form of psychodrama so that the individual can experience a corrective emotional experience of a past pain in the context of the group process. in psychoanalysis, enactment refers to a process of relational exchanges between a client and therapist that Iead to "mutual and bidirectional, unconscious influence" (p. 123). Finally, neuroscience has shown how enactment, through the triggering of mirror neurons, readily accesses relational patterns and self-representations that are stored in the highly emotional right hemisphere of the brain, a process that cannot be accomplished solely through left-hemispherial "verbal interchanges" (p. 125).

Incarnation is suggested to be a powerful agent of change as a client is able to enact relational trauma with the therapist and experience repair in "real time." However, in order for this healing and the resurrection with new life to take effect, a client's "cycle of attachment to had objects" must first die. The therapist plays an integral part in this process, as the therapist is imputed with and crucified for the sins of the bad objects through the client's "verbal and emotional deidealizing assault." Yet when the therapist survives this destruction, the client is able to enter into a new life provided through the resurrection (p. 126).

A transcript of an individual therapy session is examined to illustrate this process in how a therapist's incarnation and crucifixion as the client's father capacitated the therapist to resurrect as a "new good father" for the client (p. 127). In a twofold process of projective identification and counter-transference, the therapist incarnates as the client's highly critical father. As the client's relationship with his father is enacted in the room, the client is enabled to express his anger and pain, and concurrently the therapist suffers and is crucified for the sins of the client's father. With a newfound understanding of the client's pain, the therapist is then able to resurrect and think more lovingly of the client and become to the client a new good father.

MENTAL HEALTH, RELIGION & CULTURE

Hancock, L., & Tiliopoulos, N. (2010). Religious attachment dimensions and schizotypal personality traits Vol. 13, 261-265

Research has demonstrated that religious individuals, based upon their adult attachment style, manifest "attachment-like behaviors toward God" (p. 261). In addition, certain negative adult attachment styles have also been linked with schizotypy. The link between adult attachment and schizotypy has been supported by research, with an anxious attachment style possessing a high association with cognitive-perceptual schizotypy. Hancock and Tiliopoulos conducted a pilot study to investigate associations between religious attachment (RA) and schizotypal traits, as they hypothesized that RA might have an important association with "schizotypals who possess a propensity to religious experiences" (p. 262).

The study's 96 participants were members of Evangelical Christian societies from three large metropolitan universities in Sydney, Australia, with a mean age of 19.47 years (SD = 2.11 years). The sample was composed of 61 females (63.5%) and 35 males (36.5%). All participants completed four self-report instruments to assess their adult attachment style, attachment style to God, emotional stability and neuroticism, and schizotypal personality dimensions (cognitive-perceptual, interpersonal, and/or disorganization).

Three hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the effects of RA on schizotypy. Overall, RA was shown to predict significant variance across all three schizotypal traits. Furthermore, according to the researchers predictions, anxious RA was found to be uniquely associated with schizotypy, especially with cognitive-perceptual schizotypy. Anxious RA was not a significant predictor, however, of interpersonal or disorganized schizotypy once the effects of adult attachment and neuroticism were taken into account.

The substantiation of anxious RA's association with cognitive-perceptual schizotypy is consistent with and corroborates "functional parallels" with anxious adult attachment's association with cognitive-perceptual schizotypy (p. 264). The "unique position of RA within personality for religious individuals" is emphasized by the fact that RA's association with cognitive-perceptual schizotypy was not ascribable to adult attachment or neuroticism (p.264). The researchers suggested that the parallel between RA and adult attachment findings could broaden our understanding of attachment's role in the development of psychotic symptoms to "include RA attribution biases" (p.264). As anxious RA may predispose an individual to be highly sensitive to "attachment cues" that confirm a "negative self-schema with respect to God," the individual may develop a tendency to interpret common, daily events as special signs or messages from God, which could consequently increase their vulnerability to developing schizotypal personality disorder or schizophrenia (p. 264). The researchers concluded that future research could explore if RA is associated with any specific symptoms in schizophrenics. Additionally, it was suggested that if RA is alterable, research could be conducted to explore and develop therapeutic interventions specifically fashioned for religious populations, which could improve the efficacy of its treatment with schizophrenic or schizotypal individuals.

THE JOURNAL OF PASTORAL THEOLOGY

Kelly, A. (2010).

Models of understanding chronic illness: Implications for pastoral theology and care

Vol. 19, 22-35

With rising numbers of individuals in the United States possessing chronic illnesses, pastoral caregivers are presented with increased opportunities to interact with careseekers suffering from chronic illness. Because there are psychospiritual ramifications in the pastoral care relationship from how caregivers view chronic illness, caregivers are presented with and are encouraged to think through their own assumptions, beliefs, and biases pertaining to chronic illness, as well as assumptions, beliefs, and biases careseekers may hold regarding their illness. Three models of understanding chronic illness--moral, biomedical, and social--are presented and discussed, followed by a discussion of the theological and practical implications of providing pastoral care according to each respective model.

Caregivers or careseekers who embrace the Moral Model may view their illness as a divine means of propelling sanctification or punishment for sin. Additionally, illness may be conceived as a "deviation from the idealized 'perfect body'," which was intended for them as a part of God's original, flawless plan for mankind (p. 24). While some individuals may secure a degree of meaning and hope from their suffering by viewing their illness as a divine instrument for sanctification, for others this perspective may yield an array of negative consequences. This might include an individual embracing a martyr mentality that can result in a pretentious spiritual superiority, a sense of shame about their body because of their chronic illness, or feelings of guilt and unworthiness due to their belief that their illness is a result of sin.

The Biomedical Model espouses a more natural, mechanistic perspective of the human person, and accordingly, of chronic illness. This is often undertaken at the "exclusion of psychospiritual dimensions of health" (p. 24). A benefit of this model is its "strong explanatory power," which can provide comforting answers and explanations to careseekers with questions and concerns about their illness and its treatment (p. 29). On the other hand, careseekers may feel inferior as a result of their illness or may experience feelings of guilt and shame for disregarding medical advice and neglecting the practice of a healthy lifestyle. Due to its purely natural view of illness, those who hold this perspective may "bear sole responsibility for healing" and be reticent to solicit the care and support of their local community, especially their faith community (p. 29).

The Social Model, while incorporating the knowledge from the Biomedical Model, takes into account the broader social context and considers chronic illness as a variation from what is considered normal, and a person's limitations are deemed to often be contextual and a construct of society. It considers how the environment may have exacerbated a condition, and also places responsibility on the environment to respond to the limitations of those with chronic illness. For example, a cripple may have been considered more disabled prior to the prevalence of wheelchair ramps. This model has been effective in advocating for the rights of those with chronic illness by increasing awareness and decreasing stigmas placed on chronic illness. Conversely, a tendency exists according to this model to view an individual as a "cog in the wheel of society" and therefore an individual with may feel devalued because of being a less productive member of society (p. 30). Finally, this model may conflict with the values of some faith communities who deny environmental influence on illness.

Caregivers are encouraged to consider the benefits and challenges associated with the respective paradigm for the cause and treatment of chronic illness. Caregivers can provide more effective care by understanding the paradigm from which their care-seeker operates. Additionally, caregivers can also assist careseekers in understanding how their own paradigm affects the careseeker's experience of their illness, and offer alternative means, if necessary, of receiving care and support in the midst of their illness.

MENTAL HEALTH, RELIGION & CULTURE

Suhail, K., & Shabnam, G. (2010). Phenomenology of delusions and hallucinations in schizophrenia by religious convictions

Vol. 13, 245-259

Research has revealed that schizophrenics are more likely to firmly hold to their psychotic experiences when they are religious in nature. Thus, understanding the nature of religious schizophrenics and religious delusions possesses clinical significance as they may be associated with increased severity of symptoms, increased risk for harm to self and/or others, and poorer outcomes in treatment. The content of delusions and hallucinations in religious and non-religious schizophrenics was examined and revealed that religious schizophrenics possess a higher frequency of "religious delusions and beliefs of grandiose identity or ability" (p. 257).

Suhail and Ghauri sought investigate how religious beliefs affect symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia. Participants in this study were patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia from three psychiatric units in Lahore, Pakistan. The sample was composed of Muslims, with varying levels of commitment to the Islamic faith. The sample (N = 53) had an average age of 35 (SD = 10.29). Roughly three-quarters of the sample was male (n = 40) and a quarter was female (n = 13). Participants completed a religiosity scale using the Index of Religiosity to measure the levels of religious beliefs possessed by the participants. The content of participants' delusions and hallucinations were obtained and assessed utilizing the Present State Examination (PSE).

The content and themes of the delusions and hallucinations were derived from the patients' narratives obtained during the clinical interviews, then analyzed and categorized according to the PSE categories for delusions and hallucinations. Chi-square analyses were utilized to compare the frequency of various types of delusions and hallucinations in more religious and less religious patients. Results revealed that more religious individuals possessed significantly higher frequencies of delusions related to grandiose identity and grandiose ability, as well as religious delusions, while less religious patients possessed significantly higher frequencies of "delusions of reference and delusions of alien forces penetrating or controlling the mind or body," along with themes of experiencing "external force[s]" and "being talked about" (p. 250). Under the second category of hallucinations, no significant difference was found between more religious and less religious people under the overall frequency of verbal hallucinations (65% vs. 76%), the most commonly experienced hallucination by the entire sample (74%). More religious patients, however, did exhibit a significantly greater dominance of hallucinations related to "non-specific verbal, visual and dissociative hallucination along with themes of 'calling by name,' voices congruent with depressed mood, two-way conversation and external forces/ghosts/spirits" (p. 252).

The results from this study are consistent with previous research that has shown religiosity to be the most common theme in grandiose delusions. Furthermore, the researchers believe that these results support the view that religious convictions are a "clinically relevant phenomenon for studying schizophrenia" (p. 254). Suahil and Ghauri speculated that the high association of grandiose delusions with more religious patients might be attributed to their relationship with an omnipotent force and that their "connection may confer the idea of being super human" (p. 254). They also hypothesized that many of the religious patients use religion as a coping strategy. Although studies have shown the negative consequences of religious delusions, Suahil and Ghauri noted the positive role religion played in many of the patients' lives, which helped them cope with negative life circumstances. Given the significant role religiosity plays in the symptoms of schizophrenics, the authors concluded that more research would be helpful to explore how these convictions can be utilized as a coping strategy and incorporated into patients' rehabilitation.

JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Maccio, E. (2010).

Influence of Family, Religion, and Social Conformity on Client Participation in Sexual Reorientation Therapy

Vol. 57, 441-458

Mixed reports have been presented on the subject and efficacy of sexual reorientation therapy (SRT), but little research is available regarding reasons why individuals seek to change their sexual orientation in the first place. This study sought to fill this gap in the research by examining factors that may contribute to an individual seeking SRT. Family, religious, and social influences are hypothesized to be significant contributing factors.

The researchers solicited participants by contacting 343 "change organizations," such as Exodus International, and 333 "affiliates of gay-affirming organizations," such as National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Centers, and requested that the study by distributed to their constituents (p.445), Advertisements were also published in a Western New York weekly newspaper, as well as newsletters of gay-affirming organizations. A convenience sample of 263 eligible participants was drawn from 330 surveys returned, consisting mostly of females (52.9%), White (85.9%), Protestant (26.6%), and gay (36.5%) or lesbian (33.8%). The average age of the sample was 37.8 years (SD = 13.16), ranging between 18 and 72 years of age. Participants were provided with several self-report assessments to measure "actual or expected family reactions to the disclosure of same-sex sexual orientation," the participant's level of "religious fundamentalism," and level of "social conformity" (p. 446). Participants' demographics, including the nature of their sexual orientation, were obtained by means of investigator-added items. Sexual orientation scores indicated that the majority of the sample was same-sex oriented in "sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors" (p. 446).

Descriptive statistics results indicated that actual or anticipated immediate family reactions generally varied between understanding and tolerant. The participants' religious fundamentalism ranged between low and moderate, and their social conformity was low. The sample was relatively homogenous across the variables of age, income, education, and religion. Nearly a fifth of the participants (52; 19.8%) indicated having previously participated in SRT. Furthermore, the results indicated that previous SRT participants had lower sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors than non-SRT participants. Correlation analyses were utilized to measure the association between the variables. Significant relationships were found between SRT and religious fundamentalism, social conformity, race, sex, current sexual identity, and sexual orientation experience. Next, a logistic regression analysis was utilized to predict the likelihood of someone participating in SRI. Religious fundamentalism, family reactions, and identifying as spiritual were found to be significant predictors. Of the three significant predictors, religious fundamentalism was found to have the lowest odds of increasing an individual's chances of participating in SRT, causing a 2% increase for every one-unit increase in religious fundamentalism. Next, family reactions was found to increase the likelihood of SRT participation by nearly 50% for every one-unit increase in negative family reactions. Identifying as spiritual increased the likelihood of SRT participation "nine times higher than identifying as atheist, agnostic, or having no religious or spiritual affiliation" (p. 451).

This study confirmed two of the three researcher's hypotheses that religious fundamentalism and family reactions were significant predictors of participation in SRT. Social conformity, however, was not found to be a significant predictor. That religious fundamentalism was a significant predictor of SRT participation is supported by other research that suggests that individuals with "conservative religious values may have difficulty reconciling their beliefs and their same-sex sexuality" (p. 452). Maccio suggested that this internal conflict might lead an individual to seek to change his or her sexuality. An unexpected finding of this study was that identifying as spiritual, as opposed to identifying as religious, would increase the likelihood of SRT participation. Some limitations of the study include the utilization of a convenience sample, data based on the retrospectively fallible recall of participants, a sample composed of a higher number of males than females, and a sample predisposed to religious fundamentalism resulting from the solicitation of participants from religiously affiliated change organizations. Future research could expound on variables contributing to the association between identifying as spiritual and SRT participation. Future research could also explore the relationship between SRT participation and family reactions, as moderated by, for example, the quality of family relationships or the level of investment in family relationships. Finally, this study has important clinical implications, particularly related to the variable of negative family reactions. Practitioners can help prepare clients who have not yet disclosed their same-sex sexuality to their family for possible family reactions. Practitioners can also help clients process their feelings related to their family's reaction to their disclosure of their same-sex sexuality.
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Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Recommended readings
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2011
Words:3023
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