Narrating spiritual well-being in relationship to positive psychology and religion

B. van Rooyen, R.B.I. Beukes


Constructed as new and located in the discourse of positive psychology, “spiritual well-being” is a signifier with a (his)story in which one possible reading is highlighted in this postmodern (de)constructive narrative. The construction of “spiritual + well-being” could be narrated as a secularisation of the religious by positivist psy-complex knowledges, where spiritual well-being is reconstructed as a measurable outcome. Or it could be nar-rated as a “spiritualisation” of the psy-complex by religious knowledges, with measurable well-being becoming dependent on the pursuit of the postmodern, multiple-storied spiritual/ religious features. As the psy-complex has followed medicine from a focus on pathology to a focus on holistic wellness, it has found itself in the religious realm which it has simultaneously centred and marginalised. Additionally, as the psy-complex has moved from measuring illness to measuring wellness, it could be described as having constructed new categories of non-well-being or ill-being.


Positive Psychology; Psy-Complex; Religion; Spiritual Well-Being

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