When people are interested in the "spiritual life" they are, 'de facto', saying: "I deeply value relationships" - relationships with themselves, others, and God. Spirituality and an appreciation of the relationships they have go hand in hand.
Given this, when we turn to contemporary psychology, the school of thought which seems so naturally relevant and supportive to those interested in spiritual maturity is object relations theory. However, since this sophisticated approach to understanding the human person is quite complex in that it stands on the psychological shoulders of a great deal of previous psychoanalytic thought and practice, to mine this theoretical jewel and apply it to further the appreciation of one's own or someone else's spiritual life has been quite difficult for most people. And so, the development of a basic work on object relations theory and the spiritual life has been sorely needed.
With this in mind, Michael St. Clair, the author of the widely-read and respected book 'Object Relations and Self Psychology', and a person possessing extensive theological background as well as graduate-level teaching and clinical experience in pastoral counseling and the integration of psychology and religion, was asked to prepare a book on the topic.
The result is a volume that presents not only principles that are understandable and enlightening, but also psychological illustrations that offer a clear connection with religious experience. In addition, although St. Clair doesn't skirt the issues and controversies or subtle nuances that are open to question when one attempts an integration of psychology and spirituality from a particular vantage point, first and foremost this book is a practical work. In this regard it serves to be stimulating in one's reflection about the spiritual life: one's own and that of those persons who come to us for guidance.
This volume provides a real service to those of us who wish to see in an intelligent way what contributions modern psychology from an object relations perspective can make to our efforts to walk honestly and faithfully with God as we walk with others.
About the Author:
Michael St. Clair, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Emmanuel College in Boston. He has a master's degree in Classical Languages from Trinity College in Connecticut, a master's degree in Philosophy from Boston College, and a master of theology degree in Religious Studies from Woodstock College in Maryland. He received his doctorate in Pastoral Psychology and Counseling from Boston College. In addition to 'Object Relations and Self Psychology', he has written 'Millenarian Movements in Historical Context'.