Background & Rationale for the Consortium

With the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium, the American population experienced a renewal of interest in spiritual issues and religious faith. National polls reported that over 95 percent of Americans profess belief in God, 65 percent are members of a church, 60 percent say that religion is very important in their lives, and 62 percent believe that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. This widespread public interest in religion and spirituality has created a need for psychologists and educators to become more aware of and sensitive to the spiritual beliefs and needs of those they serve.

In the Western Hemisphere and Europe, more than 80 percent of the population claims to follow one of the three major theistic world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Thus we desire to include theistic spiritual perspectives in mainstream psychology and education. The foundational assumptions of theism are that God exists and human beings are the God’s creations. Many theists also believe that individuals who have faith in God and draw upon spiritual resources can receive divine guidance and assistance in their efforts to cope, heal, learn, and grow.

The directors and members of the Consortium for Spiritually Centered Psychology and Education believe that the theistic worldview contributes important insights into previously neglected aspects of human development, personality, and learning. No other mainstream psychological or educational tradition has explicitly incorporated theistic perspectives and practices into its approach, so this area of research and practice fills a professional void.

In our view, the most serious weakness in modern mainstream theories and approaches to psychology and education is their neglect of the influence of God and the strength of the human spirit. The consortium was created to explore ways to correct this problem. These scholars and practitioners are working to enhance the ability of professionals in psychology and education to understand and work more effectively with their religious and spiritual clients and students. Through research, publication, and education, consortium members are dedicated to bringing theistic spiritual perspectives to a position of equality and influence in the professions of psychology and education.