Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 293–302

Religious Addiction: The Subtle Destruction of the Soul

  • Patricia Anne Vanderheyden

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021351428976

Cite this article as:
Vanderheyden, P.A. Pastoral Psychology (1999) 47: 293. doi:10.1023/A:1021351428976


This paper acquaints one with and examines critically the reality of religious addiction. It describes some of the defining characteristics and symptoms. Rigidity, black and white thinking, low self-esteem, magical thinking, judgmental attitudes are but a few of the symptoms of this complex phenomenon described by myself as destructive soul work. The religious addict seeks to avoid pain and overcome shame by becoming involved in a belief system which offers security through its rigidity and its absolute values. This paper is not definitive in its scope. It's purpose is to explore and examine with the goal of gaining insight and awareness into the topic of religious addiction.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Anne Vanderheyden
    • 1
  1. 1.London

Personalised recommendations