In Addressing Issues of Spirituality and Religion in Psychotherapy, Dr. Edward P. Shafranske demonstrates his psychoanalytic therapeutic approach to handling issues of spirituality and religion within the context of therapy. This approach treats the client's beliefs with respect and acceptance, allowing the therapeutic work to incorporate the client's spiritual and religious life into the therapy.
In this session, Dr. Shafranske works with a man in his 20s who is a devout Christian, but who seems to hide behind his beliefs in the face of conflict, particularly to avoid direct emotional experience. Dr. Shafranske helps the young man to move from a cognitive to an affective understanding of how he uses religion in part as a defense mechanism as well as an authentic expression of faith. Dr. Shafranske concludes that over time in successful treatment, the patient would transform his God-representations and would more fully integrate his religious beliefs into his life.