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Each person has two ideas of God—the God concept and the God image. The God concept is intellectual in nature, while the God image is the subjective emotional experience of God that is shaped by a person’s family history. Those who struggle with mental health issues often have a God image that is distant, critical, and judgmental because they had parents who behaved that way. God Image Handbook for Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy: Research, Theory, and Practice provides therapists with the tools to effectively treat clients who harbor God image issues. This unique manual builds upon strong philosophical and research foundations to offer seven practical clinical approaches to working with the God image in psychotherapy. Leading clinicians and researchers from various disciplines offer expert insight and analysis to provide therapists with in-depth understanding of the God image.

God Image Handbook for Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy comprehensively discusses the psychodynamic foundation and research that contribute to the understanding of the God image, and then presents seven different theoretical and technical approaches to help those who have personal and religious problems. Case examples illustrate how the God image changes through the therapy process. The guidebook also explores future developments and the implications of race, culture, gender orientation, and economic conditions that impact the God image.

Each approach and theory in the God Image Handbook for Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy examine:

  • background and philosophical assumptions
  • God image development
  • God image difficulties
  • God image change
  • strengths and weaknessesCase examples discuss:
  • client history
  • presenting problem
  • case conceptualization
  • treatment plan
  • interventions
  • duration of treatment
  • termination
  • therapeutic outcomes

God Image Handbook for Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy: Research, Theory, and Practice is an interdisciplinary guide that provides a holistic understanding of psychological issues and the God image, and is a valuable practical addition to the libraries of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, addiction professionals, clergy, spiritual directors, and pastoral counselors.


Moriarty and Hoffman have created A THOUGHTFUL BLEND OF THEORY, RESEARCH, AND CLINICAL APPLICATION IN THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND TEXT on people’s images of God. . . . A comprehensive and cutting-edge review. . . . The chapters are well-organized and easy to compare with one another, and they contain case material to illuminate the principles being described. . . . A MUST-READ for those in the pastoral and helping professions, including therapists and spiritual directors. . . . Provides a wealth of ideas for future research. WHAT A RESOURCE!
— Julie Exline, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University 

WHAT A COMPILATION OF SEMINAL ESSAYS! I predict this volume will take its place among others such as the books by Richards, Bergin, and Shafranske published by the American Psychological Association that have established a firm basis for relating religion to psychotherapy. . . . PENETRATING.
— H.Newton Malony, M.Div, Ph.D., Senior Professor, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena 

A MILESTONE IN THE LITERATURE ON EMOTIONAL CORRELATES OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. The authors are to be highly commended. . . . Provides a FASCINATING tour of the research and therapeutic implications regarding the many sided aspects of people’s experience of God, from the psychodynamic to the existential-integrative, and from the neuroscientific to the multicultural. THERAPISTS AND COUNSELORS ALIKE WILL GREATLY BENEFIT from the clear and concrete structure of the book, where each of the chapters provides a very useful section on clinical theory and ends with a highly illuminating case. . . . I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TEXT for all those who are interested in the multifaceted challenges of personal and religious devotion.
— Kirk J. Schneider, PhD, psychologist, Part-time Faculty, Saybrook, Graduate School and the Existential-Humanistic Institute, Author, Rediscovery of Awe, Horror and the Holy and Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy 

THE MOST EFFECTIVE COMPENDIUM TO DATE of the widely diverse and highly important conversations on the formation of God-representations, and their modification in a wide range of psychotherapies. It begins with an excellent overview by the editors, followed by a highly useful review of the very diverse literature in the field, particularly marked by a scholarly, appreciative, and challenging assessment of the work of Anna Maria Rizzuto, the discussion’s first and most formative contributor. The bibliographies for the 13 chapters are a real gift, allowing the reader to identify a canon endorsed by scholars who differ widely in theological and psychological starting points. When rational-emotive therapists, attachment theorists, and short-term psychodynamic therapists agree that a given paper is central to their shared concerns, you know it’s important. Most of the authors agree that a change in client God-image is an appropriate goal and responsibility for much psychotherapy. This book contains a raft of methodologies for attempting that change. Particularly important new territory is explored by Noffke and Hall in their chapter on attachment theory and god-image, and by Garzon on neuroscientific therapy and the god-image. Important methodological, psychometric, and diversity issues are productively engaged.
— Brian Grant, PhD, Lois and Dale Bright Professor of Christian Ministries, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana