Excerpt About Developmental Psychology

Death of Soul in Psychology

In current Western culture, the self is the subject of the field of psychology. The dearth of notions of soul in Western contemporary thought is nowhere more apparent than here. While some approaches to psychology include a spiritual or some inner dimension—for example, Carl Jung’s analytic psychology, Roberto Assagioli’s psychosynthesis, and the larger category of transpersonal psychology—it remains true that the majority of approaches to psychology conceive of the individual as a self without a spiritual dimension. These include behaviorism, experimental psychology, child research, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, and psychoanalysis and its various schools, such as ego psychology, object relations theory, self psychology, and developmental psychology. It would be surprising if this were otherwise, since psychology developed within the context of Western thought, in which the split of soul/self from the world and from the divine was assumed. Hence it is bound to be a study of soul/self that does not include considerations of the spiritual dimension of this facet. Thus psychology, at least in its main thrust, is bound to have no consideration of soul. It emerged within a current of thought that is philosophically grounded in the separation of the self from the divine, and merely took further the separation of the self from its spiritual essence, within a mentality already grounded in this separation. These considerations indicate a direction for the field of psychology to consider, if it is to regain its understanding of the whole human being including the spiritual dimension. This orientation has the potential to unify the two extreme ends of the schools of psychology, those of cognitive and experimental psychology on the one hand and transpersonal psychology on the other. More precisely, psychology can regain its relevance to the understanding of soul by connecting to the study of God or Being on one hand, and cosmos or world on the other, that is, to spirituality and to science.

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