Psychology and Communion
After Chiara Lubich had been conferred a number of recognitions from different universities in the ’90s, the revolutionary power contained in the spirituality of unity emerged with increasing clarity. In February 1999, the University of Malta conferred on her an honorary doctorate in Letters and Psychology, highlighting how her doctrine has offered an original hermeneutical key of the human subject, when she founded, on the one hand, a model of spiritual life characterized by equilibrium between respect for the individuality of the human person and the reciprocity of human relationships and, on the other, the positive evaluation of human suffering and of what is negative in both personal and collective history. In this manner she has helped to cultivate within the field of psychology an integral vision of the human person (motivation for this conferral).
Given these facts, professionals and scholars who draw from the spirituality of unity for the field of psychology, psychiatry, and other related mental health professions, began to meet together with renewed awareness.
After a first international congress held in 2002, entitled: Towards a Full Humanism,” the following years offered many occasions to meet and share in cities throughout Italy and overseas, involving several hundred participants.
Interest for this original approach, contained in the “interdisciplinary paradigm of unity” (see: citation for the Hon. Ph.D. in Social Sciences given in Lublin, Poland) is now expressed by scholars and professionals, in addition to many students, outside of the Focolare circle.
All the scholars, even though from different schools of thought, underline how the interpersonal experience between subjects is constitutive of the individual and that those interactions which favor reciprocal recognition are fundamental for the healthy development of personality. Furthermore, they maintain that situations of suffering or blocked psychic development can be the prelude to new experiences of competency, of healing and hope. This occurs especially when authentic exchanges are activated, aimed at discovering one’s capacity for self-righting, inherent in the instinct of every human being to evolve.
For Chiara Lubich, the individual always has the possibility of enlarging his or her circle of interpersonal relationships, integrating together with others, to the point of transcending him/herself; the other person, far from being just a means, is an end onto him/herself. In this interpersonal dynamic, however, the subject returns in itself to find to that it has been enriched by what it has received from others. According to Lubich, individual psychological development is connected to that of others, even though the individuality of each person is experienced in a clear way.
The perceivable connection between current psychological studies and the praxis of the Movement allow us to hypothesize a promising future for the field of psychological research, in order to provide further insights for the well-being of individuals.