Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 402–418 | Cite as

Designing Rites to Re-enchant Secularized Society: New Varieties of Spiritualized Therapy in Contemporary Sweden

  • Anne-Christine HornborgEmail author
Original Paper


Detraditionalization in late modernity in Western society has affected the domains of both traditional religion and clinical psychotherapy. Sweden, which is said to be one of the most secularized societies in the world, instead, has allowed the public domain to be colonized by new, spiritualized practices. Sold as therapy, the services of new spiritual leaders offer anti-stress techniques to prevent burnout, or leaders are trained to develop their leadership in coaching activities. New varieties of spiritualized therapy are rapidly increasing in contemporary Sweden, typical of which is to have added healing rhetoric to their agenda, such as “find your inner self” or “develop your inner potential.” Four common denominators seem to guide these practices: self-appointed leaders, individual-centered rites, realization of one’s Self, and intense emotions. We might also add a fifth aspect: profit. Rites have become a commodity and are sold as liberating practices for burnt-out souls or for people in pursuit of self-realization.


New spiritual practices Therapy Coaching activities Commodification of rites 



I would like to thank Magnus Bergvall’s fund for their generous contribution to my stay in Heidelberg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institution for Culture and Communication, Religious StudiesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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