THE RELIGIOUS ATTITUDE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY
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THE RELIGIOUS ATTITUDE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY book
My intention in this book is to advocate an approach to the psyche which will lead to the development of an individual, intensely personal spirituality. I wish to illustrate the ways in which depth psychology can address those questions and experiences which have traditionally been the exclusive province of established religions. A perspective on divinity that is rooted within the psyche allows for the description and discussion of human suffering, of evil and of transpersonal experiences, without the necessity for recourse to the tenets of established doctrinal systems. I hope to show that particular life situations and experiences can form the basis of a personalized religion when they are understood by means of depth psychological methods. This requires an approach that retains, or even enhances and releases, the full religious significance of the experience. It is important to state at the outset that this approach is open to any manifestation of the divine, however novel or traditional its form. Such openness is possible because we have no preconceived idea about the form in which the divine may or may not become manifest. In Jungian psychology, these manifestations are termed ‘numinous’. This word, or its noun ‘the numinosum’, are used to refer to any such experience. (The term is discussed in detail on p. 11.)
Because the psychological approach is receptive to the many varieties of appearances of the numinosum, certain types of religious experience or solutions to spiritual dilemmas which would be discounted by some orthodoxies are here valued as of great importance to the individual, albeit not necessarily to the collective. Since we cannot dictate the form which the numinosum may take within the individual psyche, our task is to recognize and appreciate it, evenor perhaps especially-if it appears in the form of suffering or psychopathology.