Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lionel Corbett on Psychotherapy as Spiritual Practice

"This book makes a case for the idea that psychotherapeutic work has a sacred dimension. I suggest that to view psychotherapy as a spiritual practice is in keeping with its place in our cultural history and with the nature of the work. This is not a new idea; Bion (1979) suggested that psychoanalysis - and I would include psychotherapy in general - is located at the intersection of two axes, the medical and the religious...I offer this book in the service of what Maslow calls 'resacralization' (1971, p. 284), that notion that we can see the person from a spiritual perspective as well as developmentally, genetically, behaviorally, and psychodynamically. To acknowledge that there is a divine element within us, or that each individual is an expression of the Absolute, has implications for our attitude toward psychotherapy...My thesis is that, especially for the religiously unaffiliated, psychotherapy is a valuable resource for addressing the spiritual questions that are likely to emerge when we suffer. At these moments, I suggest that there is no need to speak of psychotherapy and spirituality as if they were radically separate disciplines, because the spirit manifests itself by means of the psyche, producing soulful experience. This kind of spirituality is grounded in the body and in daily life and may have little to do with institutional religion." (pp. 1-2)

Lionel Corbett (2011). The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice. Wilmette, IL: Chiron.

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