Original Research - Special Collection: Holiness

Identity, transcendence and the true self: Insights from psychology and contemplative spirituality

Carter Haynes
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3455 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3455 | © 2016 Carter Haynes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2016 | Published: 17 November 2016

About the author(s)

Carter Haynes, Psychology Department, William Jessup University, Rocklin, California, United States of America; Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, United States

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This article investigates the intersection of psychology and spirituality as seen through the works of Thomas Merton, Carl Jung, Fritz Kunkel and Viktor Frankl. The themes of spirituality contextualised in human identity, psychological and spiritual transcendence, and the true self versus false self metaphor are traced through the works of all four thinkers. Epistemological flexibility and holistic thinking and being are suggested as methods for transforming interdisciplinary practitioners, such as pastoral counsellors, spiritual directors and spiritually oriented psychotherapists, in order that they can offer care in a less bifurcated and more integrated way. Practical applications, including a vignette and specific recommendations for broadening and deepening personal and professional integrative practice, are offered.


Thomas Merton; Carl Jung; Fritz Kunkel; Viktor Frankl; spiritual identity; transcendence; true self; epistemology; holism


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