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Haque, A. (2006). Soul Searching: Bearing Witness, Psychotherapeutically, to One God. Psychoanal. Perspect., 4(1):49-58.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 4(1):49-58

Discussions

Soul Searching: Bearing Witness, Psychotherapeutically, to One God

Amber Haque, Ph.D.

I would like to thank the journal for inviting me to respond to the above roundtable discussion. There is no question that the topic of religion and spirituality is vital to understanding human behavior and the therapeutic process. Awareness of this in the psychotherapeutic community and beyond increases day by day as more and more studies are coming out to support this premise. Although psychology started as the study of the soul, the desire of some prominent western psychologists to imitate the natural sciences resulted in a veering away from the original subject matter to more of a study of mind and behavior. The topic of religion became a taboo within psychology for many years to come. In recent years, however, there is increasing evidence of a psychology and religion interface and the two areas being discussed together more in the professional circles, as well as in academia (Haque, 2001; Hefner, 1997). Surveys show that more than 90 percent of Americans believe in God (Hoge, 1996) and 97 percent attend a religious organization (Gallup and Jones, 1989), leaving psychologists no choice but to study the effects of religion on human behavior (Shafranske, 1996).

I found the entire roundtable discussion quite absorbing and educational. What was most striking to me was the openness of the panelists, at times revealing confusion about certain aspects of their respective religions or a relatively recent interest in matters of spirituality. Nonetheless, all of the topics discussed were highly relevant to psychoanalysis.

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