Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Experiencing a secure attachment to God among Christians: A phenomenological inquiry
by Taylor, Kathleen, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2016, 154; 10164665
Abstract (Summary)

This interpretive phenomenological analysis research study articulates the experiences of 3 Christians who manifest secure attachment to God characteristics. Human infant attachment theory and subsequent attachment to God conceptualizations were the perspectives used in order to explore the phenomenon. Analysis of the data led to 4 emergent themes focused on the psychological implications of having a secure attachment to God: View of God as Kindhearted, View of Self Transformed by God, Theological Exploration without Fear, and Need for Closeness When Suffering. Findings indicated that participants experienced God as a loving parent who fully accepted an authentic self. Across time, participants were able to deconstruct theological concepts incongruent to life experiences and explore new theological ideas and practices without anxiety of experiencing negative responses from God. Participants’ need for closeness to God when experiencing painful events, in particular when feeling powerless to fix the circumstances, was described as needing authentic conversation with God. These findings suggest that secure attachment to God may have psychological benefit and encourages clinicians to validate and explore attachment to God dynamics with clients who indicate having a relationship with God.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Elliott, Michael
Commitee: Koehn, Allen, Peterson, Eric
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Attachment, Attachment to God, Relationship with God, Secure attachment
Publication Number: 10164665
ISBN: 9781369191578
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