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by Mariana Caplan

Originally posted on the Huffington Post.

There is great debate, and in many cases a sharp divide, between practitioners of psychology and those of spirituality. On one end of the spectrum, most of mainstream psychology does not concern itself with issues of consciousness and spirit and rejects what is not scientifically quantifiable. On the other end, many contemporary spiritual traditions view the psyche as an unreal construct and believe that psychological work is an indulgent reinforcement of the story of the false self.

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2 Responses to “Psychology and Spirituality: One Path or Two?”

  1. Paul Blythe PhD

    Dear Mariana, I honour you and your work to restore the psyche back into psychology. My book by the name of my WordPress website, is a primer for those sceptics about “spiritual” ideas. I work with a lot of developmental psychology to soft sell the idea of the Noetic dimension as the source of the schedules for physical, mental, emotional and moral development. Edward Hall’s book SILENT LANGUAGE stated: that Culture hides more than it reveals and it hides most from the participants. This is so true that a couple dozen books on CULTURE SHOCK JAPAN, CHINA, AUSTRALIA etc., etc, had to be written by expatriates because the “locals” could not see what was important to write about.

    Yet, I have also noticed that the “priesthood” of psychology in their ivory towers, suffer what may be called a cultural blind-spot. With the dispersion, by Hitler of the Vienna Circle, these philosophers brought their ideas to Educational Philosophy of UK and USA and reductionism became the friend of univeriate statistics, one variable at a time. Logical positivism became the catch cry of experimental psychology. So things, spiritual became quaint ideas of soft minded people who couldn’t see what they were talking about so, “how could we every measure it?”

    I happened to take Carl Rogers seriously when he mentioned “unconditional positive regard” for the client, even though he foot-noted it for Psychology, saying that “of course, this would only be true in theory.” I have spoke to Life Line conferences and a Transpersonal Psychology Conference about Carl’s idea, because he discerned and invited us all to discern that each homo sapien has that something “unconditionally positively regardable!

    The developmental schedules that are so reliable as to point to problems, such as “failure to thrive” formerly called “maternal deprivation. Should be adequate for Psychologists to accept that were Spiritual beings, having a physical and mental experience. Can you imagine the changes this could make to “abnormal psychology”? I know, for some years that I have been talking about spiritual discernment to the wrong people, lest it be pathologized.

    We used to have a simple definition for the word “Crazy”: I was Marie Jahoda’s “out of touch with reality.”

    By the way, to me debate, is a special style of fighting, and it does violence to our ability to collaborate. To the extent the Kohlberg’s Universal Ethical Principle remains unthought of by many who are old enough to know better.

    Thanks for reading this, Paul

  2. Teresa Sosa

    Thank you for this inspiring article…I could read it through saying aha! because this retells the story of my journey and the courage one continuously takes as a breath of life in and out and moves on with faith and trust. I realize that only a persona who has lived this journey can write as clearly and insightful as you.
    My journey has taken me through different cultures and I can relate to E.Halls’ statement that cultures hide more than it reveals to its people and only when you are afar can you SEE….
    Greetings and gratitude…from a spiritual friend living now in Caracas, Venezuela.

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