Therapists’ (and Their Therapists’) God Representations in Clinical Practice
Rosemead School of Psychology
Previous studies have focused on patients’ developmental conceptions of God, and how these dynamics are manifest in treatment with psychotherapists. The present study is the first to examine empirically this relationship the other way around: that therapists’ developmental antecedents of their own God representations can also have differential impact on their clinical work, perhaps especially so with patients who are themselves religious. Four hypotheses were examined: that anonymous therapists’ work with religious issues in therapy could be matched from either their developmental God representations (H1), or their experience with how religious issues were addressed in their own personal therapy (H2); and that pooling information from both variables would increase the number of matches significantly over either variable alone (H3, H4, p < .05 for all hypotheses). Three of the four hypotheses were confirmed. Data from the present study support the argument that when it comes to how therapists work with religious issues in therapy, even more important than their developmental construction of God as a psychological representation is their experience with how religious issues were handled in their own personal therapy. I offer seven points for future research, along with implications for graduate training programs that seek to equip students to work with religious issues in therapy.
Journal of Psychology and Theology
DOI of Published Version
Sorenson, Randall Lehmann, "Therapists’ (and Their Therapists’) God Representations in Clinical Practice" (1994). Faculty Articles & Research. 740.