College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC)

Department

College of Education, Department of Counseling and Special Education

First Advisor

Fr. Patrick McDevitt, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Sharon Damore, Ph.D.

Abstract

The study investigated the God image (Rizzuto, 1970) of Christian, non-Christian and clinical population of individuals, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder in a remission state of the illness, from a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective. Participants were recruited from local mental health agencies and one local university. Their images of God were measured with the God Image Inventory (Lawrence, 1991) on eight scales - Presence, Challenge, Acceptance, Benevolence, Influence, Providence, Faith and Salience. The inventory was administered in a paper-in-pencil version and online via a web-based online scoring program of the GOd Image inventory (Gattis, 2001). The differences in the images of God were estimated through multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA). It was concluded that the image of God depended on both religion and diagnosis of schizophrenia. The results were interpreted through the lenses of Lacan's (1981/1993) psychoanalytic concept of the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father in psychotic disorders and the corresponding development of delusional metaphor. The results supported the theoretical assumption that God may serve as a substitute for the Name-of-the-Father in psychosis as expressed in a firm religiosity, thus resembling the normal functioning of individuals without a diagnosis of mental illness. Implications for mental health professionals working with schizophrenic patients were addressed.

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