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Record identifier : 565349
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Muravchik, Stephanie Natalya
Title and statement of responsibility : Came to believe: American faith in an age of psychology [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : University of Virginia, 2007
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D
Body granting the degree : , University of Virginia
Summary or Abstract : Scholars and other cultural observers have been deeply concerned about the spread of psychotherapeutic ideas and techniques in American society since World War II. Thoughtful critics have feared the pervasiveness of a therapeutic outlook has had three intertwined and pernicious effects. They worry it has corroded or corrupted faith, it has fostered ethical laxity, and it has weakened communities. This study challenges these claims based on the social and cultural histories of three psycho-spiritual programs: the training of Protestant clergy in psychology (clinical pastoral education), Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Salvation Army's outreach to the homeless. Our understanding of the therapeutic does not account for the way it worked in such psycho-religious programs, which often nurtured faith, fellowship, and ethical striving. Psychology was able to have these effects because an expansion of the therapeutic necessarily entailed its democratization and therefore its substantial alteration. Believers in these groups recast psychology in their own image. They expanded the definition of what constituted therapy to include religious traditions and spiritual activities. They turned to clergy and spiritually oriented lay persons to deliver therapy. These efforts enhanced the success of spiritual groups that reached out to the socially alienated and religiously disenchanted. Thus, psychotherapeutic perspectives came to enjoy wide appeal among Americans in good part because they quickly devised ways that they could help them achieve self-improvement, fellowship, and a sense of connectedness to the divine..
Topical Name Used as Subject : American history
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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