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Philotheos

Volume 11, 2011

George Varvatsoulias
Pages 227-260
DOI: 10.5840/philotheos20111119

Frank Lake and his Work in the Light of Psychology of Religion

Frank Lake is considered as one of the founders of Pastoral Counselling in Britain. He was a psychiatrist with great interest in theology. His main writings Clinical Theology and Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling refer to the understanding of modern psychological aspects in regard to the Christian Theology and vice versa. My paper is divided into two parts. The first part discusses Lake’s work as well as the criticisms it had from both theologians and psychologists. In particular, the first part looks to present Lake’s writings according to his ideas about human psychopathology, such as depression, dissociative reactions and anxiety disorders, and how could they be associated with an interdisciplinary approach to theological, and indeed patristic interpretations. In conjunction with the presentation and discussion of Lake’s aspects on human psychopathology are also discussed his main aspects on the relation between psychological therapy and pastoral counselling. In the same part, is also explored an integration between psychology and theology, by applying Lake’s writings in the modern scientific enterprise of psychology of religion. Finally, the first part concludes by referring to the strengths and weaknesses of Lake’s ideas according to the criticisms addressed from others. The whole paper’s perspective is to discuss Lake’s ideas on psychology and theology in the light of psychology of religion, something that is accomplished in the second part of my article. In that part, psychology and theology are presented not only for their importance for psychology of religion, but also in view to form a paradigm that could be mutually entertain both disciplines in a convergent framework. That paradigm would deal with aspects, such as ontology, spirituality, and the notion of the transcendence in terms of discussing all three as components of the psycho-spiritual interpretation of the human condition. To this new paradigm for the psychology of religion, psychology and theology would be researched not as diverging from one another, but as overlapping via their distinctive and interlinking elements regarding the investigation of the human entity.