Spirituality, Language and Behavioral TransformationAlvin Dueck, PhD, Professor of the Integration of Psychology and Theology, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pasadena, California
Dr. Dueck’s research laboratory has several foci: reported religious/spiritual experiences by moral exemplars from different religious traditions, theoretical and theological reflections on psychotherapy, scale construction of communal spirituality, and international perspectives on psychotherapy.
- Spiritual transformation in three religious groups: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This project interviewed moral exemplars from the three religious groups. The research was funded by a grant from the Metanexus Institute and preliminary results have been reported at various conferences.
- Theoretical and theological reflections on psychotherapy. This research focuses on the intersection of philosophical/social issues with religion accommodating psychotherapy. Dissertations have been written on feminism and therapy, relational psychoanalysis and religious discourse, Jewish resources for therapy, and Augustinian perspectives on psychoanalysis.
- Scale construction of communal spirituality. Many of the current instruments assessing spirituality assume it is an individual experience. However, there are religious traditions and cultures that emphasize communal spirituality. The scale has been tested and further studies in validity and reliability are being conducted.
- International perspectives on psychotherapy. This research explores the nature of indigenous approaches to therapy in religious and non-religious cultures.
Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Al Dueck and fellow students in exploring a rich collection of data drawn from religious exemplars in traditions I previously had little or no exposure to. Reading interviews of Jewish and Muslim exemplars has cultivated in me a deeper respect and sense of solidarity with these Abrahamic faith traditions. I have been deeply moved by the accounts of individuals in these faith traditions in ways I did not foresee.
I am learning in rigorous research, it takes a village. Our research and data collection spans multiple years of students because of the time and effort it has taken to propose, design, collect data, and transcribe and organize numerous interviews. It has been formative to be introduced to complexities of a grant proposal, data collection, research design, and ethically and religiously-sensitive research approaches. Also, the fruitfulness of having our lab group of collaborative voices in the exploration of our data has been invaluable.
For my master's thesis, I have embarked on the exploration of attachment and styles across the faith traditions using a self-report attachment measure and the 16PF personality test. I look forward to finding similarities and differences across traditions which will increase understanding of religious exemplars in the area of attachment.
Joe Barsuglia, second year PhD (January, 2008)
I’ve really enjoyed studying in Dr. Al Dueck’s research group. Even though I was eager to work with Al after reading his faculty profile page and thinking that my research interests lined up with his, I’ve still found myself surprised at how much broader the opportunities are within and outside of the my initial expectations. I’ve really appreciated the unique opportunity to think critically about psychology’s relation to philosophy, culture and theology through the theoretical work we do. I also enjoy the atmosphere which seems unpretentious, authentic, straightforward, and collegial. The work is personally as well as academically challenging, and the family that has formed in the research group sustains and encourages me through the difficulties and developments in both.
Adam Ghali, second year PhD (January, 2008)