Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Todd DuBoseEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_545

On Caring Rather than Curing

Psychotherapy is an art and a science of caring for those in distress with the goal of helping others toward more fulfilling and meaningful experiences in their everyday existence. The ways in which this project is done is extremely diverse, and in fact, there are hundreds of practices in our contemporary situation that would claim the name “therapy.” Although various kinds of histories have been written, I would like to offer a read of this history that highlights its inherent religiosity.

Discerning the beginnings of psychotherapy depends on how one defines this process and whether or not one understands psychotherapy as a science, an art, or both. I argue that its foundation rests both in the history of the cura animarum, or the care of souls, and in the history of consolation literature and practices across a variety of religious traditions, “cura” originally meant “care” rather than “cure” (McNiell 1977; Jalland 2000). The psychotherapist was an iatros...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bettelheim, B. (1983). Freud and man’s soul: An important re-interpretation of Freudian theory. New York: Vintage Press.Google Scholar
  2. Binswanger, L. (1967). Being-in-the-world: Selected papers of Ludwig Binswanger (J. Needleman, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  3. Binswanger, L., & Foucault, M. (1993). In K. Hoeller (Ed.), Dream and existence. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press International.Google Scholar
  4. Boss, M. (1963). Daseinsanalysis and psychoanalysis. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Boss, M. (1977). I dreamt last night…. New York: Gardner Press.Google Scholar
  6. Boss, M. (1979). Existential foundations of medicine and psychology (S. Conway & A. Cleaves, Trans.). New York: Aronson.Google Scholar
  7. Breggin, P. (2006). The heart of being helpful: Empathy and the creation of a healing presence. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  8. Brothers, L. (2001). Mistaken identity: The mind-brain problem reconsidered. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  9. Burston, D., & Frie, R. (2006). Psychotherapy as a human science. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Clebsch, W., & Jaekle, C. (1964). Pastoral care in historical perspective: An essay with exhibits. New York: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Clinebell, H. (1966). Basic types of pastoral counseling. Nashville: Abington Press.Google Scholar
  12. Frankl, V. (1946/1959). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Washington Square Press.Google Scholar
  13. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Heidegger, M. (1987/2001). Zollikon seminars: Protocols – conversations – letters. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Jalland, P. (2000). Death in the Victorian family. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Louth, A. (1981). The origins of the Christian mystical tradition: From Plato to Denys. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  17. McNiell, J. (1977). History of the cure of souls. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  18. Spinelli, E. (2006). Demystifying therapy. London: PCCS Books.Google Scholar
  19. Spinelli, E. (2007). Practicing existential psychotherapy: The relational world. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Szasz, T. (1988). The myth of psychotherapy: Mental healing as religion, rhetoric, and repression. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Wise, C. (1983). Pastoral psychotherapy: Theory and practice. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA