Spirituality and Psychology

Earlier I wrote a blog about a certain former seminarian classmate of mine who asked me why do I desire to be a teacher.

And during the next class we were like sharing our ideas in the middle of out Guidance and Counseling class discussion about psychology and how psychology is different from religion, and that spirituality is at all different from psychology. Another classmate who is 20 years older than I am and is an engineer also said the same about psychology. And so did my teacher who graduated bachelor in psychology about probably 20 years ago.

My engineer classmate says that psychology is only focused on the mind and does not tackle about spirituality. My commentaries are first of all, psychology deals not only with mental processes but also behavior. Secondly, psychology, just like education, takes into consideration the Psychomotor, Affective, and Cognitive aspects of an individual and of learning. Thirdly, spirituality is a form of a higher frequency of consciousness. And consciousness is just a part of the broader field of psychology. Somehow I can say that spirituality is related with psychology or that it is studied in the science of psychology. Laslty, there is a branch in psychology called Transpersonal psychology that studies self-transcendence and spiritual aspects of the human experiences.

The essence of spirituality is the search to know our true selves, to discover the real nature of consciousness. This quest has been the foundation of all the great spiritual teachings, and the goal of all the great mystics. (more)

  • Abraham Maslow identifies peak experiences wherein people often have spiritual experiences. He calls this self-transcendence, which is beyond self-actualization or self-realization.
  • Carl Gustav Jung calls this  process a person undergoes to wholiness the process of individuation.
  • Eastern religions call this “Great Awakening” and/or “Enlightenment
  • In Carl Gustav Jung’s Psyche and Symbol, he emphasized that the spirit is “the sum total of all phenomena of rational thought, or of the intellect, including the will, memory, imagination, creative power, and aspirations motivated by ideals.”

While I was looking for research journals to find answers to the question initially raised, I stumbled upon this informative  interdiciplinary conversation (pdf) in a certain college wherein participants shared their own point of view about the connections and intersection between psychology and spirituality .

As a learner, I do want to stick with the linear thinking, rather do otherwise and try to find the answers through my own inquiry or read as much as possible until the mind’s query is sufficed.


  1. Great point. I agree that psychology definitely can have close correlation with spirituality. In my own experience, much of my studies for self-improvement involve spiritual aspects of psychology and self-actualization. In order for an individual to fully psychologically healthy and complete some degree of spirituality and faith are generally present in some sense. Carl Jung discusses some of the more spiritual and abstract workings of the mind. I am reading some documents on Jung currently and I am very enthralled by some of his theories.

  2. I recently heard talks comparing mindfulness and meditation (spiritual and religious meditation). I agree that psychology/counseling can have a spiritual component to its studies. Like the mind itself, research is extremely varied in psychology/counseling.

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