The past century has seen the relationship between psychology and religion progress from wary antagonists to strange bedfellows to complementary worldviews. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality is designed as a text that reflects this history while illuminating the robust dialogue that continues to accompany it.
The elegant, accessible coverage ranges from early psychological critiques of religion and responses from major religious thinkers to positivist and constructivist philosophies; from Jung’s archetypes to neurobiological research into the religious brain; from scientific constructs of prayer, meditation, and mindfulness to collaborative interventions for mental health. The book’s distinctive teaching/learning presentation:
These are valuable perspectives for graduate or undergraduate courses in the psychology of religion, and a rich resource for graduate courses in psychology and counseling. In addition, Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality makes an inviting text for seminary courses in spiritual and pastoral counseling.
Reviewer:Michael S. Goldsby, PhD(Zeno Corporation)
Description:The author has done a wonderful job of portraying the dialog among psychologists, theologians, and religious practitioners about the core questions: Why am I here? What is the meaning or purpose of my life? This book explores two of the primary ways that people have attempted to answer these questions -- through religion and psychology.
Purpose:The purpose is to present ideas that have been influential in the dialog between psychology and religion, which share a concern with the quality of human existence. Both hope to offer guidance to people seeking to find meaningful, fulfilled, and even happy lives. Another purpose is to harness theory and empirical research in the service of practical applications.
Audience:The book is written much in the fashion of a scholarly textbook, and will be a valuable resource for graduate students taking courses in the psychology of religion. Counseling professionals, especially those in spiritual and pastoral counseling, theologians, and religious practitioners and others taking seminary courses will find this book to be beneficial and enlightening.
Features:It features a broad overview of the enormous volume of literature, research, and dialog among psychology, religion, and spirituality. Part I deals with fundamentals in the psychology and religion dialog, parts II and III cover basic areas in the psychology and religion dialog as it evolved over the past century, and part IV discusses the practical applications of the psychology and religion dialog. An extensive glossary gives readers an opportunity to better understand the sometimes unfamiliar terminology that is inherent in this type of book. A great resource for graduate students in psychology, theology, or counseling is the lengthy bibliography that spans 133 pages.
Assessment:This book is alone in offering a rich, in-depth, and fascinating dialog among psychologists, theologians, and religious practitioners on the fundamental questions of human existence and our place in the world. Although the primary focus is on Christianity, the author includes important dialog from other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, with a brief mention of other religions. The author has done a masterful job with this well-researched and user-friendly book and, as such, it will serve academics and counseling practitioners well.