SPIRITUALITY AND PSYCHOLOGY

Fr Jim Cogley


Unfortunately these two disciplines have traditionally been viewed as poles apart and even going in opposite directions. Each one tended to view the other even with suspicion. Back in the 70’s, while in seminary training, you only went for counselling if you had failed in your spiritual life. Today our understanding is to see both as intertwined and equally necessary to create a whole person where sanity and sanctity are combined. To have self-esteem is a psychological accomplishment, but this needs to be balanced by the humility that results from spiritual discipline. Psychological work on its own does not motivate us to be kind, to have compassion, to practice forgiveness, or to act with integrity in our business dealings. For these virtues we need a spiritual awareness to compliment our psychological work. Left on its own spirituality can use prayer and meditation to deflect from difficult issues while psychology can help us reflect and integrate them into our lives.