Understanding Religion and Spirituality in Clinical Practice is a volume in the clinical practice monograph series from the Society of Analytical Psychology. This series is intended primarily for trainees on psychotherapy and psychodynamic counselling courses, and for those who are newly qualified.
Here, Margaret Clark considers the difficulties clinicians may encounter when patients talk about God or about their spiritual life, and how necessary it is for therapists to examine their own image of God and their own understanding of spirituality, so that they can distinguish these from those of their patients. She emphasizes how varied are people’s images and understanding of what “God” stands for, and how in healthy development these will change over time.
The book demonstrates, through numerous clinical vignettes, how clinicians can understand a patient’s talking about religion or about God – hearing the voice of God, having a vision of God, or being convinced that God wants them to act in a particular way; or, equally, seeing the Devil.
The book differentiates between religion and spirituality, and between religious and spiritual aims and practices. It also distinguishes some mystical and spiritual experiences from those which are considered psychotic.
There are references to major theorists throughout, particularly to Freud, Jung, and Winnicott.
Author Margaret Clark talks about the reasons for writing the book