A Christian Spirituality and Psychotherapy
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About "A Christian Spirituality and Psychotherapy"
This book describes a method of therapy based upon the Christian spirituality and psychotherapy perspective developed by Dr. Richard York. This clinical theology perspective is a phenomenological approach that integrates spiritual, theological, and psychological concepts and was developed in large part through York's own experience of being relieved of depression and anxiety through interweaving of psychotherapy, prayer and meditation, spiritual direction, and the relationship with his Indwelling Spirit. Because human beings are the products of relationships, York critiques approaches to psychology premised upon the subject/object epistemology of empirical science that study human behavior. He suggests instead that a relational-ontology research method offers an approach superior to that of standard psychotherapy and uses experience in relationship as the fundamental concept in this clinical theology. Because people are prone to hurt themselves and others, York also argues that standard approaches to psychology need to develop a psychology of sin and evil, including some form of a Higher Power, as essential parts of the spiritual aspect of psychotherapy. York critiques Christian theologians for developing theology that seldom uses empirical data and that is irrelevant to the process of helping people heal and grow. He criticizes those pastoral ministers who moralize with people instead of listening to them as well as those who preach more about sin and suffering than God's presence and saving grace through the forgiveness of sins. While he acknowledges that most of his perspective is not new, York does offer a unique contribution to the field of psychotherapy through the concept of the Indwelling Spirit. He describes how the Indwelling Spirit works in psychotherapy and the various techniques to access it. He further argues that his experience as a gay psychologist is an essential aspect of his method because in being healed through his experience with his Indwelling Spirit he was able to define this experience for use in psychotherapy, an insight used by very few straight therapists. York challenges the notion of how a gay man who worships God regularly, found healing through a relationship with Christ in the Holy Spirit of God, and developed the concept of the Indwelling Spirit for psychotherapy, could be considered objectively disordered and intrinsically evil by the Roman Catholic Magisterium. Furthermore, York describes a new principle of moral theology for sexual relationships based on love rather than procreation and suggests seven research hypotheses to study the phenomenon of the Indwelling Spirit and the love that is exhibited in both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.