PASS talk on spirituality 6 March08 MM

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Information about PASS talk on spirituality 6 March08 MM

Published on October 22, 2008

Author: aSGuest1645


Why psychology must consider spirituality : Why psychology must consider spirituality UWS PASS Meeting 6 March 2008 Maureen Miner Definition of psychology : Definition of psychology Science of human behaviour But ‘human behaviour’ is not unitary ‘Human’ is also unclear E.g., substance – rationality? E.g., mode of existence – agency? Since the definition of psychology is open we should not rule out spirituality as relevant to psychology Definition of spirituality : Definition of spirituality No agreed definition Themes relate to Transcendence Connectedness To inner self, world, God/gods – what is considered sacred Personal experience Point 1 Integrity : Point 1 Integrity Psychology must consider spirituality for its own integrity. It should be consistent with its historical roots where spirituality is emphasized. Example – Ancient Greece : Example – Ancient Greece Earth and body are transitory and unsettled but heaven and soul are imperishable and consistent Morality (the attempt to align man’s soul with the world-soul) is founded on the order of the cosmos. Example – early Judaism : Example – early Judaism In the wisdom literature there is acute understanding of human behaviour, motivation, emotion, personality and learning These accounts depicted humans as moral, relational beings who could only flourish when in a proper relationship with God. Point 2. Psychology’s assumptions about flourishing are spiritual : Point 2. Psychology’s assumptions about flourishing are spiritual Psychology must consider spirituality because psychological theories explicitly or implicitly assert what is human flourishing. Psychology is not value free Psychology’s ultimate values are spiritual Example 1 : Example 1 Humanistic theories of personality assume what is the mature self Self-actualisation (Maslow) The fully functioning person (Rogers) The mature personality (Allport) These theories assume self-transcendence and connectedness Example 2 : Example 2 Abnormal psychology Accounts of personality disorders refer to unhelpful ways of relating to others These accounts include moral and spiritual concepts They relate to connectedness Example 3 : Example 3 Developmental psychology Assumptions about the goal of human development as integrity – inner connectedness Assumptions about reaching integrity include religious/spiritual processes and values Example 3 illustration : Example 3 illustration “I claim for the life cycle a generational principle which would tend to perpetuate a series of vital virtues from hope in infancy to wisdom in old age” Erikson (1968, p.233). Identity, Youth and Crisis. NY: Norton. Conclusion Point 2 : Conclusion Point 2 If psychological explanations of personality, abnormality and development implicitly or explicitly rely on spiritual concepts, then it is very important that psychologists carefully examine those spiritual goals and processes as spiritual. Point 3. Reductionism : Point 3. Reductionism Psychology must consider spirituality if it is to avoid reductionism ‘Hard’ psychology holds human behaviour can be explained by biology – genetics and brain processes But hard psychology ignores human selfhood and human volition The compelling force of human experience : The compelling force of human experience Humans experience volition, and Beauty Love God Conclusion : Conclusion If psychology is to be complete it must embrace the whole of psychology. This means it must: a) acknowledge all of human experience b) own up to implicit spiritual themes in its goals and assumptions about human flourishing c) recognize its historical roots that emphasised humans as spiritual beings.

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