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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Psychology & Religion

Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies 2nd Edition by Don S. Browning, Terry D. Cooper (Augsburg Fortress Publishers) The first edition of this book pioneered a broader and deeper critique of psychological theories and practices. Informed by hermeneutical theory, Browning's widely acclaimed work drew attention to the ethical and even religious assumptions underlying psychology and has been deeply influential in psychology, pastoral counseling, and practical theology.

In this edition, Browning and his new co-author show how the field of social science has indeed grasped and appropriated the hermeneutical approach, though with only slight appreciation of the religious dimensions of the social-scientific endeavor. The new first chapter situates the discussion, and the core chapters of the book are updated. Two other new chapters include dialogue with psychotherapeutic theorists and evangelical writers on the relation of theology and psychology. This work will set the stage for the religion-psychology conversation for years to come.


Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy  edited by Len Sperry, Edward P. Shafranske (American Psychological Association) Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy is the first book to critically and coherently survey how spirituality can be incorporated into a range of psychotherapeutic approaches, including psychoanalytic, cognitive—behavioral, humanistic, interpersonal, transpersonal, and others. Volume editors Len Sperry and Edward P. Shafranske, both well recognized as outstanding scholars, bring together a stellar group of contributors to describe the theoretical and clinical basis for their approaches and to illustrate their clinical application. A uniform structure across chapters and an integrative final chapter allow for easy comparison of the approaches. The volume editors examine current and future issues as well as the legacy of the psychoanalytic and Jungian foundations of spiritually oriented psychotherapy. This volume demonstrates the utility and accessibility of examining the spiritual dimension in therapy. It is likely to become a vital resource for the experienced clinician and the standard text for graduate programs in clinical, counseling, and consulting psychology and clinical social work.

Excerpt: Our basic intention in compiling this book was to invite creators or prominent advocates of the best known and regarded spiritually oriented psy­chotherapeutic approaches to share both the theoretical model on which their approaches were based and compelling case material to illustrate these approaches. Our primary goal was to make this book as reader-friendly as an edited textbook can be. To this end, we charged contributors with present­ing their approaches in an engaging style and follow a consistent framework to foster the reader's journey within and across chapters. To assist readers in comparing and analyzing the difference among these approaches, we believed that a separate chapter should provide a side-by-side, point-by-point com­parisons of these major approaches. We also believed that it was important not only to situate the trend toward spiritually oriented psychotherapies in its historical context but also to provide the reader with some sense of the future context, that is, theoretical and clinical developments, opportunities, and challenges. The book consists of three parts that are briefly described here.

Part I, "Theoretical Foundations," introduces the reader to the basic issues involving the integration of spirituality in psychotherapeutic practice. The first chapter addresses the spiritual dimension and its implications for psychotherapy, and chapters 2 and 3 delineate the foundations of spiritually oriented psychotherapy as they evolved from psychoanalysis and Jungian-archetypal analysis.

Part II, "Contemporary Approaches," describes and illustrates 10 con-temporary approaches to spiritually oriented psychotherapy: psychoanalytic, cognitive–behavioral, existential–humanistic, interpersonal, transpersonal, experiential focusing, forgiveness, theistic, soul care–spiritual direction, and integrative. The structure of each of the chapters in Part II follows a com­mon outline. As noted earlier, a common outline structures the description and illustrative case material so that the reader can more easily follow and compare the various approaches. Each approach provides the following theo­retical information: The historical and theoretical basis of the approach in­cludes a description of both the historical circumstances and the professional(s) who created to the approach, as well as the main theoretical constructs that undergird it. The nature of the relationship between psycho-therapy and spirituality is then explained and articulated with regard to its clinical implications. The therapist's skills and attributes necessary for effec­tively utilizing the approach are then discussed. Indicated are the profes­sional requisites in terms of skills, training, and experience, as well as the personal attributes that a therapist should possess to utilize the approach effectively. Next, the strengths and limitations of the approach are briefly addressed, including theoretical and practical strengths and weaknesses and the appeal of the approach for certain groups of psychologists and therapists.

The indications and contraindications for the use of the approach are then addressed—specifically, which diagnostic conditions and spiritual and reli­gious issues are most appropriate and effectively addressed by this approach, and which are less appropriate. Next, cultural and gender considerations that may affect the therapeutic process are briefly considered, particularly those that might influence therapeutic process and outcome. Finally, future devel­opments and directions of the approach are briefly noted. These include theo­retical and research developments, as well as cultural trends, that are antici­pated to affect the approach in the near future. Some approaches have considerably more empirical support than others, and this is not surprising given that some approaches are relatively new. A revised edition could con­ceivably update both theoretical and empirical developments.

Each approach provides the following clinical information in terms of an extensive case example that illustrates its clinical application: The case begins with client demographics, history, and presenting concern. This section describes relevant client data (i.e., gender, age, religious history and upbringing, current affiliation, spiritual practices, level of devoutness and orthodoxy), relevant client history (i.e., family, social, physical health history), and presenting client problem(s) and concern(s). Next, the relation-ship of therapist and client is discussed. This includes the nature of the thera­peutic relationship (i.e., the therapist and client as collaborators, the therapist as expert and the client as learner, the therapist as spiritual director and the client as directee, the therapist and client as fellow travelers on the spiritual journey). Because of its importance in the therapeutic process, assessment is then considered. The rationale for assessment are discussed (i.e., how it relates to the basic constructs of the approach, the assessment process and methods, and the type of personality and psychological, diagnostic, and reli­gious and spiritual history and information collected). This may include a formal spiritual assessment with inquires about the client's spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices or disciplines. Next is the diagnostic and clinical case conceptualization section, which provides a summary of the diagnostic for­mulation, usually in terms of DSM–IV Axes I and II, as well as a clinical conceptualization or formulation that provides an explanation for how the presenting problem or concern relates, or may relate, to the client's religious background and spiritual factors in the client and his or her context. Then the treatment goals, process, and intervention strategies of the case are noted, indicating specific goals and objectives as well as psychological and spiritual interventions for attaining those goals. This is followed by a timeline of the course of treatment and frequency and duration of sessions. Here the typi­cal duration of treatment for this approach and the expected frequency and duration of sessions are indicated. Next is a discussion of termination and relapse prevention, which describes indicators for termination and the process of terminating treatment. If relapse prevention is integral to a given approach, it is briefly described in this section. Finally, therapeutic outcomes: immediate and long term are discussed (i.e., the extent to which treatment goals were achieved in this particular case, as well as the client's overall level of spiritual and psychological functioning, at 6 and 12 months following termination).

The 10 approaches described in Part II are applicable to the majority of North American and European readers. We are not suggesting that these represent all possible spiritual approaches to psychotherapy, and we recog­nize that contributing authors have presented case examples that do not rep-resent the full scale of diversity at this time. It would be our intent to include additional and more diverse approaches in a revised edition.

Part III, "Commentary and Critical Analysis," contains the final two chapters. The first is a comparative analysis that includes a detailed side-by-side comparison of the 10 approaches along with narrative commentary. The second addresses future directions in spiritually oriented psychotherapy and speculates on various theoretical and clinical developments as well as issues such as training, scope of practice, and related ethical and praxis issues.

Handbook Of Spirituality And Worldview In Clinical Practice by Allan M. Josephson, John R. Peteet (American Psychiatric Association) Unlike works that focus primarily on spiritual experience, this clearly written volume focuses on worldview - the cognitive aspects of belief - and how it affects the behavior of both patient and clinician. Also unlike other works, this remarkable volume summarizes assessment, formulation, and treatment principles, using powerful case vignettes to illustrate how these principles can be applied to any individual of any faith or "non-faith," including practical clinical information on major faith traditions and on the secular (i.e., atheist/agnostic) worldview. This refreshing text sheds much-needed light on an area too often obscure to many clinicians. Because it bridges several disciplines in a novel way, this thought-provoking volume will find a diverse audience among mental health care students, educators, and professionals everywhere concerned with religious and spiritual aspects of their patients' lives.

We counted on chapter authors to use their knowledge as insiders to de-scribe their respective traditions, but we also asked them to indicate the ways that beliefs within these traditions may sometimes be recruited to support psychopathology or may be held for dynamic reasons. Although we encouraged the authors to be dispassionate, at times their ardor shows through. We believe that this tendency underscores a central point of this volume: that everyone has a worldview and feels strongly about its truth. Finally, because this book is a clinical volume, we could make only indirect reference to research.

The book is organized into four sections: 1) an introduction to the concept of worldview and its significance; 2) chapters that address issues of general clinical significance, including assessment, formulation, and therapeutic implications of worldview; 3) a section that considers the clinical implications of several major traditions of belief; and 4) a concluding chapter that considers the large role played by culture in understanding the worldviews of others, particularly those living in or coming from a non-Western setting.

Each author in the third section followed a standard format of considering core beliefs and practices; diagnostic challenges and core therapeutic dilemmas presented by adherents; variations in clinical encounters, depending on whether the clinician and the patient share the same worldview; and opportunities for collaboration with outside resources, such as clergy or other religious or spiritual advisors.

Religion and Emotion: A Critical Assessment and Annotated Bibliography edited, selected and essays by John Corrigan, John M. Kloos, and Eric Crump (Greenwood Press)  The study of emotion currently is undergoing a renaissance across the arts and sciences. Some of the most interesting and original contributions have been in the area of religion and emotion. This bibliography documents work from diverse fields of the humanities, social sciences and especially psychology.

The bibliography is the only one of its kind and is extensive. It is not exhaustive. Works have been selected for inclusion based upon several criteria. Most importantly, a piece of scholarship must have made a significant contribution to the study of religion and emotion through its presentation of data, its innovation in terms of approach or mode of analysis, its interpretation, or its critical engagement of previous work. In some cases, books (and a few articles) have been listed even though only one part of the book directly addresses the topic of religion and emotion, the authors judging that the scholarly discussion in such a book meets one or more of the criteria of significance. Second, in view of the likely readership, the authors have chosen to include scholarship only in English, German, French, and Latin. Third, the bibliography favors recent scholarship over older scholarship. However, works of historical importance, regardless of the date of their authorship, have been included. Fourth, scholarship in certain areas, such as medical science and literary studies, has been admitted to the bibliography only in as much as it intersects with disciplinary categories chosen by the authors in their organization of the field.

Organization. Part One lists historical studies according to several historical periods/categories: (1) ancient (to the eighth century), (2) medieval and early modem, (3) seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, (4) nineteenth century, (5) twentieth century, (6) survey works. Historical studies include research bearing on numerous religious traditions (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) and a broad range of geographical locations.

Part Two enumerates research in the social and behavioral sciences. It organizes scholarship according to three primary areas: psychological studies, anthropological studies, and sociological studies. Works included in this part of the bibliography likewise address a diversity of religious traditions and popular religious expressions globally distributed.

Part Three is divided into two sections, theological works and philosophical studies bearing on religion and emotion. These two sections represent a deep historical tradition of reflection on emotion. The bibliography is here limited to Western intellectual traditions, and, within the section on theology, largely, but not exclusively, to Christianity.

Religion and Emotion: A Critical Assessment and Annotated Bibliography gathers over 1,200 entries from scholarly literature in the fields of history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, theology, and philosophy. This unique bibliography demonstrates the coherence of religion and emotion studies as an area of research while noting the breadth of that area and the ways in which researchers have employed various methods and disciplinary approaches. An extensive introductory essay identifies the leading themes in the scholarship and demonstrates both the complexity of the field and the ways in which work from several disciplinary perspectives has overlapped. Featuring outstanding annotations and a detailed overview of the field, the bibliography demonstrates the breadth and vitality of scholarly research in this area.

Many works listed in the bibliography blend disciplinary perspectives. Certain historical studies intersect with literary studies or philosophy. Scholarship located under a social science heading often draws upon several different fields in exploring religion and emotion, integrating, for example, sociological, psychological, and historical perspectives. Theological and philosophical works have profoundly influenced each other as well as contributed to the development of research in other areas. The authors have organized the bibliography essentially on disciplinary ground, but the borders marking that ground are porous and at times indefinite. Readers accordingly might discover useful annotations for works in sections other than the one or two that are of primary interest to them.

An Introduction surveys the scholarship in all three parts of the bibliography, noting predominant themes, the contributions of particular persons, and research clustered around specific emotions. It critically assesses the overall landscape of the study of religion and emotion with a view to locating continuities, junctures, debates, and prospects within the literature.

Names and spelling. Titles in French, German, and Latin have not been translated Words in these languages and others occasionally have been utilized in annotations, in almost all cases with an English translation.

Indices. The end matter of the book includes a topic index (according to page number) and an author index (by entry number). The former comprehends all major topics, including references to proper names in the annotations. The latter lists all primary authors (including up to the first three authors of coauthored or co-edited works) and editors.

This interdisciplinary work is a primary research tool for initial research in the affective aspects of religious studies.

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