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versión On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versión impresa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.74 no.1-2 Pretoria  2009




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


Interpretasie van geestelike wessyn in verwantskap met positiewe sielkunde en godsdiens



B. van Rooyen; R.B.I. Beukes

Department of Psychology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. E-mail:,




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 narrated 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.

Key concepts: positive psychology; psy-complex; religion; spiritual well-being


Geestelike welsyn, as "nuwe" konsep en geplaas binne die kader van positiewe sielkunde, is 'n aanduider met 'n (geskied-kundige) storie. Een moontlike vertolking hiervan kan in hierdie postmodernistiese (de)konstruktiewe verhaal neerslag vind. Die konstruksie van "geestelike + welsyn" kan geï "vertel" word as 'n sekularisering van die godsdienstige dnterpreteer ofeur positivistiese, psi-komplekse vorme van kennis, met geestelike welsyn wat verklaar word as 'n meetbare uitkoms. Dit sou ook voorgestel kon word as 'n "vergeesteliking" van die psi-kompleks deur vorms van geestelike kennis, met meetbare welsyn wat afhanklik raak van die navolging van die postmoderne, veelvuldig-verhaalde geestelike/godsdienstige. Aangesien die psi-kompleks die klemverskuiwing in die mediese veld gevolg het van 'n fokus op patologie na 'n fokus op holistiese welsyn, het dit die terrein van die godsdienstige betree - en hierdie terrein die sentrale punt van belangstelling gemaak, terwyl dit terselfdertyd die terrein gemarginaliseer het. Met die wegbeweeg van die meting van siekte na die meting van welsyn, kan dit dus beskryf word dat nuwe kategorieë van nie-welsyn of "siekwees" hierdeur gekonstrueer is.

Kernbegrippe: geestelike welsyn; godsdiens; positiewe sielkunde; psi-kompleks



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