Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Journal File

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Journal File

Article excerpt

This section of the journal attempts to keep readers informed of current resources of an integrative nature or those related to the general field of the psychology of religion appearing in other professional journals. A wide range of psychological and theological journals are surveyed regularly in search of such resources. The editor of the Journal File welcomes correspondence from readers concerning relevant theoretical or research articles in domestic or foreign journals which contribute directly or indirectly to the task and process of integration and to an understanding of the psychology of religion.


Hoffman, M. (2010). Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection in Psychoanalytic Thought Vol. 29, 121-129

Where Christ's incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection was needed to break the perpetuation of the "sins of the fathers," in psychotherapy, "incarnation in the form of enactment" is often necessitated for the "breaking of old object ties, and the experiencing of a new creation" (p. 121). Hoffman explains the historical and current utilization of enactment in various therapeutic modalities. A therapy session is then examined in-depth to illustrate the concepts of enactment and incarnation.

Hoffman sought to provide a general understanding of how enactment has been utilized historically, as well as presently, in family therapy, group therapy, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience. In family therapy, the therapist encourages the family to enact typical family dynamics in-session for the purpose of assessment and correction. In group therapy, enactment is often utilized in the form of psychodrama so that the individual can experience a corrective emotional experience of a past pain in the context of the group process. in psychoanalysis, enactment refers to a process of relational exchanges between a client and therapist that Iead to "mutual and bidirectional, unconscious influence" (p. 123). Finally, neuroscience has shown how enactment, through the triggering of mirror neurons, readily accesses relational patterns and self-representations that are stored in the highly emotional right hemisphere of the brain, a process that cannot be accomplished solely through left-hemispherial "verbal interchanges" (p. 125).

Incarnation is suggested to be a powerful agent of change as a client is able to enact relational trauma with the therapist and experience repair in "real time." However, in order for this healing and the resurrection with new life to take effect, a client's "cycle of attachment to had objects" must first die. The therapist plays an integral part in this process, as the therapist is imputed with and crucified for the sins of the bad objects through the client's "verbal and emotional deidealizing assault." Yet when the therapist survives this destruction, the client is able to enter into a new life provided through the resurrection (p. 126).

A transcript of an individual therapy session is examined to illustrate this process in how a therapist's incarnation and crucifixion as the client's father capacitated the therapist to resurrect as a "new good father" for the client (p. 127). In a twofold process of projective identification and counter-transference, the therapist incarnates as the client's highly critical father. As the client's relationship with his father is enacted in the room, the client is enabled to express his anger and pain, and concurrently the therapist suffers and is crucified for the sins of the client's father. With a newfound understanding of the client's pain, the therapist is then able to resurrect and think more lovingly of the client and become to the client a new good father.


Hancock, L., & Tiliopoulos, N. (2010). Religious attachment dimensions and schizotypal personality traits Vol. 13, 261-265

Research has demonstrated that religious individuals, based upon their adult attachment style, manifest "attachment-like behaviors toward God" (p. …

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