ASCENDING OR DESCENDING: THE SAFETY PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH DURING PSYCHOTHERAPY
Huang, C.H., National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan
In the beginning of modern psychotherapy, pioneers such as William James, Carl Jung, and Roberto Assagioli have expounded the importance of religion and spirituality in the development of personality or psychotherapy. However, since Freud's psychoanalysis became the predominant school, religion or spirituality has been either disparaged or excluded from the study of orthodox psychology and psychotherapy. Recently, researches in the fields of psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and community counseling have expressed a trend to unite psychotherapy and spiritual growth, which shows a reconfirmation of the value of religion or spirituality in psychotherapy. However, some literatures have indicated the negative complications due to improper use of spiritual practice, which includes the causing of psychosis, personality disorganization, and severe interpersonal problems. Therefore, it is significant to address the issue regarding how to benefit from the use of spiritual practice while not suffering from its misuse. Although little such information can be seen in the past psychotherapy studies, related discussions occurred frequently in the scriptures of major traditions of spiritual practice such as Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism, with many helpful guides to spiritual growth. The current paper thus contributes to providing fellow psychotherapists with the safety principle in the clinical use of spiritual growth during psychotherapy, all drawn from the essential guides to spiritual growth mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures such as Diamond Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra and instructions of Ch'an and Tibetan Buddhist masters.