PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY: SIMILARITIES
Both theology and psychology are concerned with people and with working with people to show them the way to live full, complete, and satisfying lives. However, while the two fields share many assumptions and notions about human nature, they also have clear differences in their perspectives.
The purpose of this paper is to examine for both overlap and disagreement in theology and psychology regarding the topic of maturity. In other words, the paper examines the question: What is spiritual maturity and how is it the same and/or different from psychological maturity? The first section of the paper presents a review of the relevant research and theory on psychological and spiritual maturity, while the second section of the paper presents a series of conclusions about the two approaches to the concept. All presented conclusions are formulated on the basis of the reviewed research.
Psychological and Spiritual Maturity: Summarization of Research
In terms of any comparison between psychological and spiritual maturity, one important point that needs to be addressed is that behavioral perspectives of what constitutes psychological maturity can and often do differ. For example, Vaughn and Pfenninger (1994) point out that some psychological theories of maturity utilize biological maturation, evolution and developmental stage perspectives as the bedrock of their models; in other words, their notions of maturity are heavily rooted in body mechanisms and structures.
On the other hand, Vaughn and Pfenninger (1994) state that other psychological theories lack body-based perspectives almost entirely, focusing instead on the development of personal choice; these are models whose notions of maturation are conceived in psychological rather than biological terms.
In addition, while some psychological theories of maturity hold that the development of one's spirituality is a...