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Spirituality in Psychotherapy

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An Analysis of Hungarian Psychoterapists’ Experiences—A Grounded Theory Study

While scientific interest in the relationship between psychotherapeutic praxis and spirituality is growing, there is still little knowledge on this topic, especially in an East Central European context. To explore how psychotherapists understand spiritual issues and experiences they encounter in their work and to learn what happens to these issues in the course of psychotherapy, this study analyses semi-structured interviews with 30 Hungarian psychotherapists. Applying a grounded theory analytical strategy, three main topics were identified: the therapist’s attitude towards spirituality leaves a discernible trace in the psychoterapeutic treatment; the therapist influences the way spiritual issues are treated; and the therapist may have a shared spiritual experience with the client. We present individual variations of these experiences as they appear in the code tree. Results are interpreted with reference to a systemic view of the psychotherapeutic process, the intersubjective space of patient and therapist, and the notion of the therapists’ mentalizational capacity.

10.1163/15736121-12341340
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2017-12-15
2018-10-17

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