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Psychological and Spiritual Illness in the View of Modern Psychotherapy and the Philokalia: Anthropological Foundation and Comparative Study

CIOBANU, LILIANA,SIMONA (2013) Psychological and Spiritual Illness in the View of Modern Psychotherapy and the Philokalia: Anthropological Foundation and Comparative Study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The present research brings together two broad areas of human knowledge, modern psychotherapy and the ascetic practice as envisaged by the Philokalia, to bear on the concept of psychological and spiritual illness. In so doing, it employs a comparative methodology which allows for contrasting the two paradigms in order to identify overlaps or separations, but also to generate new hypotheses concerning the phenomena under investigation and therefore, broaden knowledge further. At the same time, it represents a new study in the search for a suitable method to be used when conducting interdisciplinary study in these two fields. The method emerged from the present research and suggested that further interdisciplinary inquiries in the same area were termed as border research so bringing forward the profile of a border researcher. It envisages that the ‘travelling’ concepts come to the border, where the comparison takes place. Since the present inquiry’s universe of discourse relates to a border that is found within the human being, when analyzed it naturally follows a vertical vector. Methodologically, the study is placed within the area of humanities.

The first part of research addresses comparatively the issue of anthropology – which in the Philokalic framework becomes an aspect of Christology. The conclusions inferred from this analysis will be largely employed in the second part of the study which directly addresses the matter of psychological and spiritual illness. We found that the comparison on illness was not methodologically possible without reference to the larger anthropological background that produced it and which needs to be kept constantly in view throughout the entire comparative effort. Therefore, the second part comprises a short discussion on the matters of diagnosis and discernment with an analysis of their underlying values; the next chapter comparatively discusses generalities on normality and abnormality with a conclusion that the data are not sufficient to infer assumptions as to the relationship between psychological and spiritual illnesses; the comparative effort goes more in-depth in the last two chapters by focusing on the case studies of anxiety and depression, with the conclusion that the will to love seems to be the unifying will that brings man to health and normality.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:psychological and spiritual illness, the Philokalia, border research, interdisciplinary research, fear and anxiety, depression and dejection.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jun 2013 12:29

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