APA Task Force Report, Chapter 1 (cont’d)

I need to back up before I can go forward. I forgot that I wanted to comment on another aspect of Chapter 1 in the task force report. So that’s what this post will do, and then I will move on to Chapter 3.

In addition to the material on sexual stigma, the report covers several aspects of psychology of religion. This is a strength of the document overall. I’d like to highlight one specific distinction that is helpful to the overall discussion of the potential conflicts in this area:

The conflict between psychology and traditional faiths may have its roots in different philosophical viewpoints. Some religions give priority to telic congruence (i.e., living consistently within one’s valuative goals) (W. Hathaway, personal communication, June 30, 2008; cf. Richards & Bergin, 2005). Some authors propose that for adherents of these religions, religious perspectives and values should be integrated into the goals of psychotherapy (Richards & Bergin, 2005; Throckmorton & Yarhouse, 2006). Affirmative and multicultural models of LGB psychology give priority to organismic congruence (i.e., living with a sense of wholeness in one’s experiential self) (W. Hathaway, personal communication, June 30, 2008; cf. Gonsiorek, 2004; Malyon, 1982). This perspective gives priority to the unfolding of developmental processes, including self- awareness and personal identity. (p. 18)

It should be noted both that the task force sought input from those with expertise in psychology of religion and that the distinction between organismic and telic congruence is quite helpful. The report goes on to discuss how it can impact clinical work, as when some may think in terms of values and trajectory and future considerations and purposes (telic) while others may think in terms of one’s sense of self unfolding developmentally such that felt impulses are believe to be natural and part of who a person really is (organismic). As I mentioned above, this may help us understand how different groups can come to appreciate completely different approaches to therapy while working toward a kind of congruence that may not be understood by those who take a different assumptive starting point.

1 Comment

  1. I love vocabulary. “telic congruence” refers to teleological arguments that all things are made for a specific purpose. This is in diametric opposition to ontological naturalism which is so prevelant in secular and scientific outlooks on life, the universe, and everything (thanks Doug).

    Can we just bottom line that argument and say Order vs. Chaos?

    When you try… SO HARD, to communicate the sacredness of religion to those that have given their lives over to science you descend into these long winded discussions about semantics which can be productive but are more often an exercise in futility. Why do we do that when a good old Texan like Eddie Smith would probably ask for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of these individuals? Why?

    Are we talking about science? Are we talking about faith? We know that the faithful feel that intuition and insight gained through spirituality can inform scientific inquiry. Is science ever used to inform our spiritual walk?

    When you arrive in a discussion at Order vs. Chaos where do you go? Is that conversation productive? Is it even relevent to therapy with sexually conflicted clients? Are we even using a Rogerian argument style? Are we blathering on about Logos, Ethos, and Pathos? Are we trying to witness to these social scientists by asking them to consider a Godly point of view?

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