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Psychology and Religion: Collaborators or Competitors? Raymond F. Dlugos, OSA, Ph.D. The Southdown Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Psychology and Religion: Collaborators or Competitors? Raymond F. Dlugos, OSA, Ph.D. The Southdown Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychology and Religion: Collaborators or Competitors? Raymond F. Dlugos, OSA, Ph.D. The Southdown Institute

2 Collaboration Easier said than done…Easier said than done… Requires a Secure Relational Style by at least one party in the relationship…Requires a Secure Relational Style by at least one party in the relationship… Dismissal of either one’s own value or the value of the other defeats collaboration.Dismissal of either one’s own value or the value of the other defeats collaboration. Failure to acknowledge and name the competitive reality unconsciously sabotages good intentions.Failure to acknowledge and name the competitive reality unconsciously sabotages good intentions.

3 Collaboration Requires Different Perspectives and Approaches Religion offers access to revealed wisdom not otherwise accessibleReligion offers access to revealed wisdom not otherwise accessible –Focus outside or beyond the self Psychology offers access to self-knowledgePsychology offers access to self-knowledge –Focus on the self. Spirituality is a place of integration between the self and the rest of the universe.Spirituality is a place of integration between the self and the rest of the universe.

4 Psychology, Spirituality and Religion Psychology and Religion are both servants of a person’s spirituality.Psychology and Religion are both servants of a person’s spirituality. Spirituality/Religion relationshipSpirituality/Religion relationship –Spirituality welcomes the collaborative relationship; religion might not. Spirituality values the collaboration of the two and can be damaged by the competition.Spirituality values the collaboration of the two and can be damaged by the competition.

5 Integrity=Behavior Consistent with Values Spiritual level is the point of integration:Spiritual level is the point of integration: –Our basic orientation and purpose in life –Fundamental moral options –Orientation to the transcendent –Relationship with the all Effective integration on the spiritual level requires input from many different sources, both internal and external.Effective integration on the spiritual level requires input from many different sources, both internal and external. –Over or undervaluing any one source over another can result in disintegration.

6 Personal Background Roman CatholicRoman Catholic Professed Member of a Religious Community with a Spiritual Tradition within Roman CatholicismProfessed Member of a Religious Community with a Spiritual Tradition within Roman Catholicism –St. Augustine and interiority Seminary EducationSeminary Education –The Three K(C)arls Ordained PriestOrdained Priest Doctoral Studies in PsychologyDoctoral Studies in Psychology –“Passionately Committed Psychotherapists” Integrating Psychology and Religion at the Southdown InstituteIntegrating Psychology and Religion at the Southdown Institute –“The effective integration of the best of psychological science and practice with the wisdom of the Catholic spiritual tradition.” –Lonergan’s Method in Theology as foundational to my understanding of the process of integration and change.

7 The Historical Perspective on the Competition Mythological WisdomMythological Wisdom –Archetypal Patterns Discerned –Natural Religion –The wisdom of art, drama, poetry, philosophy. –An Axial Moment: The prophets of Israel co-terminus with the golden age of Greek philosophy and the discovery of subjective morality.The prophets of Israel co-terminus with the golden age of Greek philosophy and the discovery of subjective morality.

8 The Historical Perspective on the Competition The Pre-Modern WorldThe Pre-Modern World –Revealed Religions as Agents of Social Control –God as the Measure of All Things –Mystery handled Theologically

9 The Historical Perspective on the Competition The Modern WorldThe Modern World –The Enlightenment The Cartesian Turn to the SubjectThe Cartesian Turn to the Subject Mystery Handled ScientificallyMystery Handled Scientifically Prediction and control of the universe pursued enthusiastically.Prediction and control of the universe pursued enthusiastically. The Science of Psychology and Practice of Psychotherapy emerges.The Science of Psychology and Practice of Psychotherapy emerges.

10 The Historical Perspective on the Competition The Post-Modern WorldThe Post-Modern World –Failure of Modernity results in chaos –Mistrust of science and religion –Self separate from community is the measure of all things –Excessively narcissistic self-focus

11 The Historical Perspective on the Competition In Whatever We Call the Current TimeIn Whatever We Call the Current Time –Antidote from chaos and alienation sought through fundamentalist theocracies that promise safety, community, and meaning. Fear as primary motivational forceFear as primary motivational force –Respond to threats to this view with violence. –Wars in the name of God…

12 Self in Relation to Formative Forces Religion is one of many essential forces exerting influence on the self’s process toward integration.Religion is one of many essential forces exerting influence on the self’s process toward integration.

13 EXTERNAL FORMATIVE FORCES Political Realities SELF Ecological Realities Economic Realities Personal Spirituality Religion Societal Familial National/Ethnic Groups Communal

14 Reality of the Formative Forces They are real, powerful, and motivated toward influencing individuals to conform to their wishes.They are real, powerful, and motivated toward influencing individuals to conform to their wishes. They are in competition with each other and the self is the battleground of this competition.They are in competition with each other and the self is the battleground of this competition. They are unlikely to change and self does not have the power to influence a formative force.They are unlikely to change and self does not have the power to influence a formative force. They use fear as a primary motivational force because it works.They use fear as a primary motivational force because it works. There are real consequences to acting contrary to a formative force.There are real consequences to acting contrary to a formative force.

15 The Self in Relationship to Formative Forces Forces are necessary to the integrative project of the self.Forces are necessary to the integrative project of the self. Dismissing or disempowering the formative forces does not serve the integrative project.Dismissing or disempowering the formative forces does not serve the integrative project. Acting with freedom requires conscious assertion of values arising from the self that may be contrary to the values of the formative forces.Acting with freedom requires conscious assertion of values arising from the self that may be contrary to the values of the formative forces.

16 Engaging the Formative Forces Each one matters to some extentEach one matters to some extent –How do I resolve the competition for my mind, heart, and soul? The self mattersThe self matters –What is it like to be me in response to these demands? The tension arising from competing demands and desires seeks resolution.The tension arising from competing demands and desires seeks resolution. Premature resolution of the tension thwarts growth toward integration.Premature resolution of the tension thwarts growth toward integration. –Dismissal of the Self as irrelevant or meaningless. –Dismissal of Formative Force as irrelevant or meaningless

17 What Religion Can Offer to Spiritual Development Wisdom collected over centuries tested through individual and communal experience.Wisdom collected over centuries tested through individual and communal experience. A Transcendent perspective that expands the vision of reality beyond what one individual is capable.A Transcendent perspective that expands the vision of reality beyond what one individual is capable. Moral frameworkMoral framework Symbolic connection with mysterySymbolic connection with mystery

18 What Psychology Can Offer to Spiritual Development Offers the self ground to stand on so as to engage the formative forces effectively.Offers the self ground to stand on so as to engage the formative forces effectively. Offers tools to access the inner wisdom and transcendent nature of the individual self.Offers tools to access the inner wisdom and transcendent nature of the individual self. Can assist the self to come to a place of free and conscious choose about how to respond to life without dismissing the other formative forces.Can assist the self to come to a place of free and conscious choose about how to respond to life without dismissing the other formative forces. Individuation that allows a person to life in conscious freedom rather than in reaction only to internal and external forces.Individuation that allows a person to life in conscious freedom rather than in reaction only to internal and external forces.

19 Engaging the Resistance Creatively Religion provides ample resources for resistance to the work of psychotherapyReligion provides ample resources for resistance to the work of psychotherapy –Efforts to control the session by client “Can we start with a prayer?”“Can we start with a prayer?” The search for a therapist with common religious beliefs.The search for a therapist with common religious beliefs. Innate mistrust of psychology from religious people.Innate mistrust of psychology from religious people. Animosity toward religious values.Animosity toward religious values.


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