The Christian Psychotherapist as a Transitional Object to God

Volume 18
Summer 1990
The Christian Psychotherapist as a Transitional Object to God

From a perspective which integrates object relations psychology and Scripture the concept of the transitional object is applied to the therapeutic relationship with the psychotherapist or pastoral counselor serving as a transitional object to God, who is conceived of as the Perfect Object. By becoming a good enough object or an effective ambassador for Christ who mediates God's love for the client, the therapist can utilize the client's temporary dependence upon the therapist to enable them to make the transition from dependence upon visible but imperfect parental figures to reliance upon the invisible God who is perfectly loving. It is suggested that in order for clients to make the transition to a healthy dependence upon God they need to relinquish the moral defense which idealizes parents, grieve the loss in having had less than perfect parents, integrate their good and bad part object representations, and utilize an internalized object representation of the good enough therapist as a foundation for developing a good image of God. Suggestions are offered for how the Christian therapist can adopt the therapeutic role of being a transitional object to God.

Dr. W.J. Gaultiere
131 - 140
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