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This chapter focuses on consideration of two kinds of abuse: abuse that takes place within a church and abuse that takes the place of a church. In the first, the pastor is usually unaware of the abuser, and in the second, the pastor often is the abuser. The spiritual ramifications when trusted religious leaders use people for sexual gratification are enormous. Gartner described how children abused by spiritual leaders can develop a crisis of faith, believing that somehow they have betrayed God. There is also a problem of the heterosexual abuse of children and adults by clergy of all denominations. Psychotherapists can perform preventative and even ameliorative work in churches by meeting with church leadership to help train them in identifying and dealing appropriately with sex abuse in the church. With regard to spirituality and religion, it’s important that the abused person is treated psychologically and also spiritually.
One of the greatest of the methodological difficulties which the social sciences have had to face has been the discrepancy between verbalized behavior and behavior in life situations. The more fundamental and central a situation or relationship may be in family and marriage relationships for the individuals concerned, the greater is the social tension if such discrepancy arises. Psychodramatic procedure establishes a number of typical situations which are standardized for use in the various relationships which come under observation. These situations, of course, are based upon actual psychodramatic experience with many married couples. Psychodramatic treatment of marriage problems has emphasized the importance of the part played by hidden roles in the personalities of the two partners. Many cases of failure have been noted in which the cause could be traced to the emergence of the role, at a time which may be even years after the wedding.
The complex situation is filled with this kind of overflow of experience, and this situation has been called various things. Couples therapy often starts off with one person blaming or being blamed, which is a simplistic, one-person approach that does not take into consideration the complexity of the situation. “Situation” is a term referring to the complex set of factors related to a biopsychosocial system that is self-adapting in nature and comprising both ontic and phenomenal features. Although people would like to reduce complexity down to more simple chunks and organizational structures, the working alliance is a two-person field that is related through extra-therapeutic common factors to larger and overlapping fields in the lives of both therapist and client. A working relationship in psychotherapy is an ontic field with phenomenal features. The relational matrices in the church interact with the levels of spiritual maturity in the people and their giftedness.
As long as the nature of eugenic affinities is not established by biogenetic research, we shall assume two practical rules: that psychological nearness or distance is indicative of eugenic nearness or distance and that clinical studies of crossings lead to a preliminary classification of eugenic affinity. We may have to consider not only changes in the genes but changes between the genes whatever mutation may have taken place in a gene and for whatever reason, mechanical and chemical. If this mutation should be favorable the genes must be attractive to one another, that is, must correspond to changes in some other genes. In other words, the genes must be able to produce a functional relation; morphological affinities and disaffinities between them may exist. A definite relation may exist between gene effect, the reflection of one gene upon another and upon the individual characters, and tele effect.
Spiritism, spiritualism, and the occult often get mixed up. In fact, spiritism and spiritualism are often used interchangeably, with the most notable difference being that spiritists believe in reincarnation, while not all spiritualists do. Both spiritists and spiritualists believe that disembodied spirits can communicate and carry on relationships with incarnate human beings. Spiritists, though, are empowered to make their own connections with God apart from the work of priests or others invested with spiritual authority. From a Christian perspective, spiritists have made a science, with its own philosophy, out of wizardry and the occult. Occult practices, in general, are regarded by many to be a legitimate aspect of mystical spiritual experience; indeed, modern spiritism is regarded to have emerged from the ground of Swedenbor-gian practices. Psychotherapists do not operate primarily as theologians, evangelists, or apologists for any given spiritual or religious group.
Psychoses can be treated by means of the psychodraina, but questions have been raised as to just how this treatment can be accomplished and what effect the psychodramatic treatment has upon the psychotic and his disorder. Freud distinguished between those mental disorders in which a transference from the patient to the physician can take place and those of such narcissistic character that no transference is possible. He declared persistently that psychoanalytic treatment can be applied only to patients who can produce a transference to the analyst. Consequently, as soon as he discovered that a patient was suffering from a schizophrenia or similar narcissistic disorder, he declined to treat the patient further stating that psychoanalytic treatment would do no good. The psychodrama actually functions as a milieu which will reflect that patient’s psychosis in such a way and on such a level that he can see his psychotic experiences objectified.
There is the rub between religion and spirituality that brings many people to divide them into a polarity, with a structured religious institution at one end and a spontaneous and creative flowing in contacting between the whole person and something of greater meaning and/or organizing influence at the other. This chapter is an investigation of this polarity people create between religion and spirituality, as well as a look at spirituality and religion from a psychological stance, a philosophical stance, and a theological stance. Spirituality generally refers to meaning and purpose in one’s life, a search for wholeness, and a relationship with a transcendent being. The psychology of religion is a huge subject. It includes anything a person might think of in the field of psychology pointed toward an intersection with religion and spirituality. Religion and spirituality are simply socially constructed to serve human needs in social conditions.
Many of the people who come for psychotherapy do not mention God or spiritual issues. Some identify themselves as atheists, and for them spiritual issues would be not simply irrelevant but inappropriate. For others, though, they are dissatisfied with God. Their dissatisfaction with God is unhappiness, disaffection, and disapproval. It is often seen in spiritual dullness and malaise, because the dissatisfaction, like unaddressed doubt, is never dealt with and worked through to either a strengthening of faith or a complete disillusion and rejection of God. Show off the client’s dissatisfaction with God through experiments that put the client’s relationship with God on the line or that explore the value of the spiritual disciplines the client does or does not practice. For a client to conduct an authentic conversation with God in which he or she expresses the dissatisfaction that plagues him or her can be a healthy thing.