New Publication: Neuroscience Can Contribute to Pastoral Care and Counseling

Founding Director Patrick McNamara
Sacred Spaces Volume 7

Abstract: The neuroscience literature supports the idea that spiritual transformation is a powerful behavioral and cognitive change process involving fundamental alterations in the sense of self. Brain regions that are known to mediate the sense of self are activated during religious experiences that in turn underwrite spiritual transformation. Because religious experiences are fundamental to spiritual transformation, pastoral care workers can facilitate spiritual transformation by encouraging their clients to discuss and reflect on their religious experiences. The decentering perspective discussed in McNamara 2009 provides details on the phenomenological experiences people undergo when they have a religious experience. The pastoral care worker can use this decentering model to identify the key transformative processes within religious experiences.

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