A Winnicottian Redescription of Christian Spiritual Direction Relationships: Illustrating the Potential Contribution of Psychology of Religion to Christian Spiritual Practice

Volume
Volume 28
Issue
Winter 2000
Title
A Winnicottian Redescription of Christian Spiritual Direction Relationships: Illustrating the Potential Contribution of Psychology of Religion to Christian Spiritual Practice
Abstract

The contemporary Christian spiritual direction literature and the psychoanalytic object relations theory of D. W. Winnicott share an emphasis on facilitating relationships. A closer examination, however, reveals important differences in the value each places on human helpers. An undervaluing of the dynamics of the relationship between the directee and the spiritual director, relative to the relationship between the director and God, is problematic and can benefit from a Winnicottian redescription in which direction is characterized as unfolding in what Winnicott calls "€œtransitional space"€ and "€œpotential space."€ Directors are encouraged to be particularly attentive to each directee'€™s unique, unfolding developmental needs; facilitate ongoing transitions; and nurture various forms of experiencing as they emerge in the process of direction. The method for arriving at these conclusions illustrates how the psychology of religion can contribute to the study of Christian spirituality.

Author
Dr. D.S. Hardy
Pages
263 - 275
Price
Add to Cart $5.00