Using John Wesley’s sermons and treatises, and the autobiographical narratives of his followers, Watching and Praying gives a detailed examination of the contemplative techniques that comprised Wesley’s “method” and model of personality transformation. The first of its kind, the book employs a psychoanalytic perspective that explains both the effectiveness of the method and the emotional crises that arose at every turn. Haartman argues that Wesley’s view of spiritual growth – a series of developmental stages that culminated in “sanctification” – was legitimately therapeutic as measured by the standards of contemporary psychoanalysis. Wesley’s pastoral genius lay not only in his implicit grasp of the unconscious (e.g. repression, defense, sublimation), but also in his abiding appreciation of healthy ideals and their integrative power. Watching and Praying will appeal to psychoanalysts interested in the clinical facets of religious experience, to scholars in the field of psychology and religion, and to researchers in the area of personality change.
“[Haartman’s] book provides us with a substantial and probing exploration of the psychology, development, and religious career and teaching of the great John Wesley, the father of Methodism. The interpretation is set in the context of a psychoanalytic perspective that gives us a unique and meaningful picture of the man Wesley and the spiritual ideals that guided his life and work. … The whole adds up to a substantial and important contribution to the understanding of religious thought from a psychoanalytic vantage point. Students of this area of psychoanalytic reflection will welcome this feast of relevant and interesting material, and those who seek more generally for a deeper understanding of religious meaning in life will have much to ponder in the reading of it” -- William W. Meissner, S.J., M.D., University Professor of Psychoanalysis, Boston College, Supervising and Training Analyst Emeritus, Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. --- from the publisher
“Watching and Praying is a remarkable work, remarkable in its depth and insights, remarkable in regard to its juxtaposition of psychoanalysis and religion … The author diligently compares the tenets of each field of interest and capably demonstrates how they overlap and differ. … One begins to realize, after reading this book, how close religion is to psychoanalysis in its aims and methods. … fascinating and meaningful …I recommend it for all mental health workers as well as pastoral counselors and those interested in religious topics” -- James S. Grotstein M.D. (UCLA)
Introduction, by Gerald J. Gargiulo, Ph.D.
1 Early British Methodism and Personality Change
2 Trauma and Conflict in Eighteenth Century British Childrearing
3 Wesley’s Stages of Spiritual Development
5 Justification and the New Birth
6 Inflation and Depression
7 The Practice of the Presence
8 Watching and Praying: The Paired Meditations of Sanctification
9 Concluding Reflections
Keith Haartman is a Ph.D. graduate of the Centre for Religious Studies at the University of Toronto, and a training candidate at the Toronto Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He practises psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy in Toronto, and teaches part-time at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Religious Studies and in the Professional Writing and Communications Program.