How to Talk About Spiritual Encounters

How to Talk About Spiritual Encounters

by Peter J. Adams

Hardcover(1st ed. 2020)

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This book develops a new and innovative way of understanding how language is used when people describe their spiritual and mystical encounters. Early chapters provide overviews of the nature of spiritual encounters, how commonly they occur, and the role of language. The book then develops a unique way of understanding the dynamics of talking about spirituality, using original research to support this perspective. In particular, Peter J. Adams explores how this characteristically vague way of speaking can be viewed as an intentional and not an incidental aspect of such communications because certain types of vagueness have the capacity to engage the imaginative participation of receptive listeners. This expressive vagueness is achieved by embedding missing bits, or “gaps,” in the flow of what is described and these in turn provide sites for listeners to insert their own content. Later chapters focus on practical ways people (including helping professionals) can improve their skills in talking about their spiritual encounters. All content is situated in café conversations between four people each of whom is, in their own way, concerned with the challenges they face in converting the content of their encounters into words.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783030452070
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Publication date: 07/28/2020
Edition description: 1st ed. 2020
Pages: 327
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Peter J. Adams practiced for many years as a clinical psychologist working with adults facing mental health, addictions, violence and life-change issues. He is currently a professor of population health at the University of Auckland in New Zealand..

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:


Chapter 1 Introduction Café Capri
Chapter 2 Describing Encounters
Chapter 3. Trouble Talking
Chapter 4 Making It Happen?

Chapter 5 Collecting Specimens
Chapter 6 The Rhetorical Turn
Chapter 7 Big Devices, Little Devices
Chapter 8 Expressive Vagueness
Chapter 9 Provocative Gaps
Chapter 10 Gaps by Missing Content
Chapter 11 Gaps by Grammatical Shifts
Chapter 12 Gaps by Metaphor
Chapter 13 Gaps by Marking
Chapter 14 Counting Exercises
Chapter 15 Are they Unique?
Chapter 16 God-Talk
Chapter 17 Reducing Reluctance
Chapter 18 Device Play
Chapter 19 Creating a Description
Chapter 20 Practitioner Opportunities
Chapter 21 Fostering Gap Talk
Chapter 22 Postscript

Appendix 1
Appendix 2

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