PCR Sessions

Annual Meeting, November 18-22, 2005
Philadelphia, PA

Quick Guide to PCR Sessions (Adobe Acrobat)

Pre- Sessions:

Main Sessions:

Book Panel:
Shared Wisdom: Use of the Self in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Visual Experience
in the Wondering Brain

The Psychology and Spirituality
of Martial Arts Practice

Friday, Nov 18, 6:30-9:30

PCR Dinner

Saturday, 1:00- 3:30 pm
Works in Progress
Spiritually-oriented Approaches
to Therapy

Business Meeting

Sunday, Nov 20, 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

The Psychodynamics
of Religious Violence

Monday, Nov 21, 1:00 pm-3:30 pm

in Wesleyan Traditions

Monday, Nov 21, 4:00 pm-6:30 pm

The Psychology of Anomalous Experience
and the Nonunitary Self

Friday Presessions  

2:00-3:45 PM
Mariott Philadelphia
Liberty Ballroom B

Shared Wisdom: Use of the Self in Pastoral Care and Counseling
by Pamela Cooper-White

This book presents countertransference from the postmodern psychoanalytic "relational" paradigm. Constructivism, intersubjectivity, and Trinitarian theology are engaged with case studies to bring the contemporary psychoanalytic concept of the "use of the self" into dialogue with the practices of pastoral care, counseling, and psychotherapy.

Presider: Lallene Rector, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary


  • Rodney Hunter, Emory University
  • Wally Fletcher, Philadelphia
  • Bonnie Miller-McLemore, Vanderbilt University
  • Pamela Cooper-White, Lutheran Theological Seminary Philadelphia

Coffee Break


Visual Experience in the Wondering Brain

A session exploring vision in religion, art, sexuality, and consciousness

Presider: Diane Jonte-Pace, Santa Clara University


  • Kelly Bulkeley, Graduate Theological Union
  • Serinity Young, American Museum of Natural History
  • Carol Rausch Albright, Chicago
Experiential Session

The Psychology and Spirituality of Martial Arts Practice

The Martial Arts encompass many centuries-old practices from around the world. While Karate, Kung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do and other Martial Arts originated as methods of military combat, they have always included express psychological and spiritual elements. In this session, the presenters will discuss their experience of Martial Arts training as spiritual practice, including its psychological components. They will lead those participants who are interested in simple, non-contact Karate exercizes, based on workshops that Lisa Cataldo has presented for groups of all ages and religious backgrounds.


  • Lisa Cataldo, Union Theological Seminary
  • James Jones, Rutgers University

PCR Friday Dinner
6:30- 9:30 p.m.

The traditional PCR dinner following the Friday presession will be hosted by Pamela Cooper-White at her home just outside of Philadelphia. At the end of the presession we will take a commuter train to her house, enjoy plenty of good food, drink, and collegial conversation, then return by train later in the evening. The cost will be $30, half off for graduate students, with a surcharge for wine-drinkers. Many thanks to Pam and her family for their warm hospitality!

Saturday Pre-Sessions
Nov 19
1:00- 3:30 pm
Loews Commonwealth B

Due to scheduling difficulties with the AAR, the Saturday sessions have been moved to the afternoon, rather than our customary morning time.

NOTE: The AAR Program Booklet Listing is INCORRECT.

1:00 pm
Works in Progress
Presider: John McDargh, Boston College

New scholars are welcome

2:00 pm

Spiritually-oriented Approaches to Therapy:
What Roles Do Religious and Theological Studies Play?

Carrie Doehring, Iliff School of Theology, Presenter

3:00 pm

Business Meeting
Pamela Cooper-White and Kathleen Bishop, presiders

Sunday, Nov 20
1:00pm- 3:30PM

The Psychodynamics of Religious Violence

Pamela Cooper-White, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Presiding

Terry Cooper, St. Louis Community College District
Religous Aggression from a Cognitive-Behavioral and Psychoanalytic
Perspective: A Comparison of Aaron Beck and Erich Fromm

Religious aggression is analyzed through a comparison of cognitive-behavioral psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, and psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm. More specifically, Beck's conviction that religous aggression stems exclusively from distorted, egocentric, biased thinking is carefully examined. Further, his view that aggression can be 'tamed' through cognitive restucturing is explored. The argument is made that while Beck's contribution is insightful, it is not equipped to handle the ontological anxiety which frequently pushes individuals toward aggression and destructiveness. Erich Fromm's analysis of the limitations of Freudian aggression and the death instinct, along with his own development of the 'syndrome of decay' are employed to illustrate a psychoanalytic understanding of the dynamics of religious aggression. The goal is twofold: (a) to provide a contrast between cognitive-behavioral and psychoanaltyic views of religious aggression, and (b) to come to a deeper understanding of the possibilities for non-aggressive religious dialogue.

Thomas B. Ellis, University of South Carolina, Columbia
Religion and Terrorism: Reflections on the Controversial Conjunction

This paper argues that religion and terrorism share a common strategy for dealing with the untoward nature of chance. Murderous finalities notwithstanding, terrorism gets its strength before the kill: we are terrorized when we don’t know when, where, or upon whom the next strike will take place. Similarly, and as Rene Girard argues, religious traditions throughout history have attempted to contain confusions and uncertainties through an arbitrary selection and subsequent expulsion (murder) of a surrogate victim. Both of these strategies may be linked to an evolutionary history that has endowed the human animal with a predator-detection system. In other words, humans find chance anathema because our first encounters with chance were our encounters with the unforeseen predator. In an attempt to contain such disconcerting chance, humans seek to violently redistribute this chance to another. This is the predation strategy at the heart of religious sacrifice and terrorism.

Marsha Hewitt, Trinity College
Enemies of God: An Exploration into the Psychodynamics of Religion and

Violence, rage and the urgency to destroy the threatening 'other' infuses most of the world's known religions. This paper will explore the internal psychodynamics of religious violence and religious terror/terrorism from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. A major theme focuses on the internal dialectic within religion that strives to strengthen a sense of identity and agency within the believing community while evacuating difference and the 'alien other' through repression, splitting, dissociation and projective identification. Peter Fonagy's concepts of 'psychic equivalence' and 'mentalization' are helpful in exploring impairments of thought that require the unbelieving, impure, diabolical or threatening evil other, be it an individual, community, nation or ideology in order to eradicate it, thereby producing illusions of internal and external purity and safety. The paper will place these psychoanalytic themes in cultural and political contexts in order to understand the traumatic effects of modernity that produce experiences of dislocation, disorientation and fear.

James W. Jones, Rutgers University
The Psychodynamic Roots of Religious Terrorism

This paper will do three things: review current research on the social-psychological factors associated with terrorism and genocide; discuss the religious beliefs and practices that can lead to terrorist actions; and describe some of the psychodynamics that predispose people to adopt such beliefs and practices. Among the primary texts that this paper will draw on will be Mohammed Atta’s letter to his companions, the letters written by the Dutch fanatic who killed Theo VanGogh, and the author’s research on the Aum Shrinkyo cult. Written from a contemporary relational psychoanalytic perspective, this paper will demonstrate how these clinical psychoanalytic constructs can deepen and enrich the findings of social psychology and illustrate some of the potential contributions of the psychology of religion to the current discussion of religiously sponsored terrorism.

Monday, Nov 21
MP-Salon A

Transformation in Wesleyan Traditions

Rebekah Miles, Southern Methodist University, Presiding

Keith Haartman, University of Toronto
Watching and Praying: John Wesley's Method of Personality Transformation

This paper examines the contemplative techniques that comprised Wesley's method of spiritual transformation. By employing a psychoanalytic perspective that explains the pastoral effectiveness of the method, I claim that Wesley's view of spiritual growth was therapeutic and transformative as measured by contemporary psychoanalytic standards. Wesley's developmental model involved a series of spiritual phases each characterized by techniques and meditations (ritual mouring, the practice of the presence, introspection) that culminated in sanctification, a cognitive-emotional transformation marked by the eradification of sinful temptations and the perfection of altruism. Couched in a theological idiom, the method helped individuals to work through conflicts created by the two main traumata of British middle class childhood: authoritarian parenting and unresolved bereavement grief. In terms of psychoanalytic methodology, this paper argues that religious-cultural symbolism may promote transformations of archaic affect and neurotic conflict that progressively rehsape these materials into complex existential insights and convictions.

Lallene Rector, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and
Laceye Warner, Duke Divinity School

A Psychoanalytic Investigation of the Transformative Impact of Sanctification Experience and Belief in the Conversion of Julia A. J. Foote, Nineteenth-Century Holiness Preacher

This paper presents an interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and psychoanalysis that considers the effects of conversion and of particular theological beliefs upon a young 19th c. Holiness preacher, Julia A. J. Foote. Questions about what constitutes “transformation” and how it occurs, as well as the matter of sudden and/or gradual processes of change will be explored. Theologically, these issues are represented in John Wesley’s doctrine of sanctification and the elaboration of entire, or instantaneous sanctification versus a gradual “going on to perfection” process. Phoebe Palmer's altar theology provides another 19th c. view of sanctification. The psychological analysis of Foote’s religious experience and teaching, as portrayed in her spiritual autobiography, is primarily guided by the observations about transformation of William James and Chana Ullman, and by two major psychoanalytic concepts, Christopher Bollas’ longing for the transformational object and Heinz Kohut’s idealizing selfobject need.

Hetty Zock, University of Groningen
Paradigms in Psychological Conversion Research:
The Emergence of the Biographical-Narrative Approach

This paper focusses on the role of paradigms in psychological conversion research, taking James Richardson’s distinction between the passive (‘Pauline’) and the active paradigm as a starting point. Richardson stresses that scientific paradigms to some extent constitute the phenomenon of conversion itself. As I will show, they are also greatly determined by the cultural models of conversion prevalent in a particular time. From this meta-theoretical, paradigmatic point of view, I will give a survey of the changes in the psychological approaches to conversion. I will argue that since 1980 a new paradigm is emerging: the biographical-narrative approach, focussing on the role of conversion in identity construction by way of narratives. The usefulness of this paradigm will be illustrated by a case-study on a Dutch evangelical television program called ‘The Transformation’. Contemporary transformations in the Pauline model of conversion will be traced.

A. Gregory Schneider, Pacific Union College

Monday, Nov 21
LH-Regency C1

The Psychology of Anomalous Experience and the Nonunitary Self

Kathleen Bishop, Madison, NJ, Presiding

G. William Barnard, Southern Methodist University
Henri Bergson and William James on Paranormal Experiences and the
Multi-Dimensional Self

This paper articulates just how deeply William James and Henri Bergson were fascinated with, and influenced by, research on paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, mediumship, trance states, hallucinations, and so on. It begins by noting how both James and Bergson attempted to convince the scientific establishment that “psychical research” was a legitimate and necessary investigation. The paper then notes how James and Bergson used the data from psychical research to challenge mechanistic models of reality. The paper ends by providing an overview of several models of selfhood,consciousness, and reality articulated by James and Bergson – models that emerged out of, and responded to, the findings of psychical research.

Jaesung Ha, Vanderbilt University
Spirit Possession, Shin-Byung, and the Restoration of the Self
in Korean Shamanism

Regardless of its religious implications, spirit possession has attracted attention from many disciplines. Freud diagnoses possession and concurrent symptoms as ‘a neurotic fantasy.’ Jung, in contrast, attributes the possessional symptoms to the sway of the forces of collective unconscious without proper subjugation by the ego. Shin-byung, a Korean culture-bound syndrome in DSM-IV, demonstrates medically ‘untreatable’ psychosomatic symptoms, which is a typical qualification for shamans. Through the initiation ceremony, the person becomes cured with a new identity as a shaman. In a self-psychological perspective, the process of healing in the ceremony is a treatment of the fragmented self. During the ceremony, the person is ultimately respected as a new god-carrier by the surrounding professional shamans and is encouraged to find compensation for the self. The match between the self-psychological interpretation and the psychosomatic phenomenon is strong, but a possibility that the shaman’s self is affected by socio-cultural misogyny is still open.

Felicity Brock Kelcourse, Christian Theological Seminary
Intersubjectivity, Infantile Helplessness and Occultism:
Non-Ordinary Experience in the Dialogue between Freud and Jung

The theme of non-ordinary experience, as found in memories of infantile helplessness, the occult, and other aspects of human subjectivity, appears as a source of both fear and fascination in the dialogue between Freud and Jung as documented in their correspondence (McGuire, Ed., 1979). Their intersubjective attraction and conflict on this subject can be understood in relation to the foundations of subjectivity suggested by their families of origin. This approach also suggests possible explanations for their differences on the subject of religion. I hope to shed light on some of the controversies that separate proponents of psychoanalytic thinking from Jungians to this day. Each perspective presents promise and pitfalls for describing and better understanding the non-verbal foundations of human subjectivity. Non-ordinary experience became an intersubjective point of contention in the Freud/Jung dialogues precisely because it contained elements of each man's experience that were both longed for and feared.

Andrea Mundis, Drew Theological School
Psychology, Neurology, and Their Attempt to Dismiss Mystical Experiences:
Should They Succeed?

This paper will examine the manner in which psychology and neurology have endeavored to explain mystical experiences through natural means. The first portion deals with the similarities between mystical experiences and symptoms of psychological and neurological disorders. Following this general introduction, the specific psychological theories of Freud, Jung, Fromm, Horney, and Merkur and the neurological theories of Mandell, Tart, and Pribram will be explored. These attempts at giving mystical experiences natural causes have found their way into the writing of those who study mystical writings, such as Karen Armstrong. The final portion of the paper will examine mystical experiences in contemporary media, demonstrating that mystical experiences are still prevalent in today’s world. While natural explanations tend to demystify these experiences, this paper argues that mystical experiences, whether they can be explained naturally or not, have validity and importance in religious and theological discourse in both the past and present.