Owe Wikström
 

Alla inlägg i Psychotherapy and religion

PSYCHOTIC (A-)THEISM ? The cognitive dilemmas of two psychiatric episodes

 

Owe Wikström                         University of Uppsala

PSYCHOTIC (A-)THEISM ?

The cognitive dilemmas of two psychiatric episodes

Introduction

Neurotic religiosity is relatively well documented (Sanua, 1969).  Oceans of cases are presented and analyzed (see among others Corveleyn,  in press).  Theoretical models for understanding are well elaborated (Vergote, 1988;   Wallance, 1981;  Rizutto, 1979, 1989; Bradford &  Spero, 1990).   Case studies in psychotic religiosity or rather “religious experiences during psychotic episodes” are observed and theoretically worked through (Rokeach, 1964;  Boisen, 1936,1960;  Gallenmore, 1969;  Gettis, 1987;  Kushner, 1967).  If one uses MEDLASH or other computerized library systems there is however a relatively low rate of published studies dealing with psychoses and religion. In crosscultural psychology as well as in anthropology and in history of religon, however, the question of shamans, prophets etc. are regularily discussed in terms of psychopathology. The nosology and the genesis of the psychotic state and differential criteria for diagnoses are not well established in spite of DSM III. There are still many different and partially contradictory perspectives as to the psychological structure and treatment of psychotic illnesses; psychoanalytic (Freud, 1928, 1911), the object-relational models (Podvoll, 1979;  Smith & Handelmann, 1990; Ståhlberg, in press),  as well as Jungian and  phenomenological traditions ( Bradford, 1984).

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“Nåt tror jag på, men jag vet inte riktigt vad”.- om sekularisering och teknisk socialitet.

“Nåt tror jag på, men jag vet inte riktigt vad”.- om sekularisering och teknisk socialitet.

Andliga behov?

Finns det fundamentala behov som ett liberalt och sekulariserat samhälle inte kan tillfredsställa?” frågades häromåret i en serie i Svenska Dagbladet. Diskussionen handlade huvudsakligen om ett eventuellt värdemässigt och ideologiskt tomrum, dess socialt/politiska förutsättningar och följder. Läs vidare →

THE SILENCE OF GOD

Owe Wikström

THE SILENCE OF GOD

 - the use of “God” or “god”  in psychotherapy – preliminary remarks

The background of this paper consists of many informal discussions I have had during the last two semesters when I have given a number of clinical seminars in psychiatric settings on the role of religion in mental health/illness. For a long time my main interest has been concentrated on the patient´s religiosity. More recently I have become increasingly aware of the role of the therapist´s religiosity and especially how countertransference influences the therapy when the therapist´s r him/herself is a devout Christian yet working in and “agnostic setting” – such as  a general hospital.

     In this paper I would like to make some clinical remarks as to the ambivalence of Christian therapists who are trained to understand a person´s religiosity in both psychodynamic and theological/pastoral terms. The aim of the paper is to elucidate the internal conflict that may emerge for a Christian therapist. The conflict is as follows: The therapist sees how a patient´s representation of God is linked to intrapsychological emotional forces, conflicts and needs and therefore might intervene by means of a neofreudian/objectrelational theory of religion (God as god);  but at the same time the therapist also would like to be a faithful Christian and therefore – in the psychotherapeutic process – also wants to support the patients experience of God as a living autonomos entity, not reducable to intrapsychic developmental or illusionistic needs (i e God as God).

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God as “acting Agent” in Psychotherapy

Paper read at the Conference “Mental Health and Religion” in Krakow, Poland dec 9-13 2002

Owe Wikström 

God as “acting Agent” in Psychotherapy

Theoretical remarks  

Introduction

One of the basic assumptions of the mainline object relation theoreticians in Psychology of Religion (among others Rizutto 1979, Meissner 1984, 1987, Vergote 1988,  Mc Glashan 1990) is that the individuals´ experience of God, and his conceptualizing of God ultimately points to a mental activity generated by early interpersonal human-to-human relations and discourse, rather than to any objective relationship between humans and a divine object that in fact exists independant of human emotions, perception and language. The psychological function of this very externalized and introjected transitional object – God – is that it enters into relationship with and promotes the development of the Self. In that sense, it is claimed that the mental image of God and the concepts in relation to this very image can therapeutically be used to strenghten the Ego (Erikson 1966).  

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