The interaction between Religion and Psychology, one of the founding principles of AMCAP, has been addressed several times in AMCAP forums (De Hoyos, 1982) and elsewhere (Richards & Bergin, 2005; Sorensen, 1981; Sperry & Shafranske, 2005). Many may have entered the helping professions to fulfill personal religious needs a well as service goals. The long standing dialogue on the topic of Religion in the helping professions will not end with this article, nor should it ever end in this life. We believe that examining the ways in which Religion and Psychology interface deserves the attention and effort of many minds, that this endeavor is too important to approach lightly, and we will argue that premature conclusions could prove harmful (Bergin & Payne, 1992). It is critical that those debating these important issues aviod making claims beyond their effort or asserting greater success than will hold up under close examination. Many therapists who embrace the relevance of spirituality and religion in the lives of those receiving psychotherapy (e.g., Richards & Bergin, 2005) have proposed strategies for the inclusion of spirituality in psychotherapy. We argue that development of such strategies must be preceded and guided by careful consideration of the relationship between Religion and Psychology. Our purpose is not to provide a definitive treatise on the subject, but to identify some relevant questions, problems, and dilemmas.
We will discuss four broad topics. First, we will present a framework for the complex interaction between Religion and Psychology"one that embraces ambiguity and uncertainty in order to prevent premature closure. Second, we will present five questions we think are important to ask when considering the compatbility of Religion and Psychology. Third, we will present three facets of Religion and Psychology that we believe are mutually exclusive. Finally, we will offer an approach to the integration of Religion and Psychology that encourages a continuing dialogue of how and whether it can be done.