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Imago Dei Psychotherapy: A Catholic Conceptualization Hardcover – January 30, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


This book proffers a powerful antidote to a purely secular form of psychology: a fully integrated Catholic psychotherapeutic conceptualization.

John O'Connell (Editor of Fr. John Hardon's Catholic Faith Magazine)

London's Catholic Herald

Francis Phillips

I have just been reading a fascinating book: Imago Dei Psychotherapy: A Catholic Conceptualization by GC Dilsaver, an American Catholic psychologist. It is about healing those who are mentally ill because of depression, borderline personality disorders and so on, by helping to restore the "image of God" within them.... [T]he book well merits reading in full....

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Therapeutic undertakings, whether in medicine or in psychology, proceed from assumptions that are necessary if the very concept of therapy is to be intelligible. . . . Psychotherapy, too, is intelligible as an undertaking only insofar as there is a model or theory of the healthy person the healthy mental life not sufficiently reflected in the life of this person, this patient. It is therefore something of a professional self-delusion for therapists to insist that they are neutral on the question of the nature of human nature and (therefore) the conditions favoring its flourishing. Therapy begins with a theory or conception of Dare I say it? the right life, no matter how widely placed are the perimeters. In Imago Dei Psychotherapy, Dr. Dilsaver comes to grips with this unavoidable starting point and defends a conception of human nature that he would have guide therapeutic practice. The foundation he builds is, as he says, intrinsically dependent on a Catholic philosophy and theology. He finds within the doctrinal teaching of the Church, developed over two millennia, a systematic anthropology able to comprehend the fullest range of human values and human interests. The teaching is essentialist and thus is assuredly not confined to Roman Catholics. Indeed, the (Thomistic) essentialism that is integral to this anthropology does not require the overt inclusion of faith principles within the therapeutic context. What makes this such an important book is that it invites reflection and criticism. It is a book that actually takes a position and on nothing less than human nature and its prospects. --Daniel N. Robinson, Oxford University

In this short treatise on clinical psychology, we find a current presentation which is fully in accord with traditional scholastic philosophy and theology. The whole Catholic worldview of man made in the image of God, a composite being of spirit and matter, is the philosophical basis of Imago Dei Psychotherapy. This is an invaluable tool for Catholic counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists whose goal it is to bring their therapants to a state of mental health which is in accord with both the natural law and divine revelation. --Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, Editor, Homiletic and Pastoral Review

About the Author

In addition to his degrees in clinical psychology, Dr. Dilsaver received a degree in philosophy from the University of San Francisco and graduated from USF's original St. Ignatius Institute Great Books program.  Dr. Dilsaver also received an Lateran University advanced degree from the Pontifical Institute on Marriage and Family where he was a McGivney Scholar. Dr. Dilsaver is the director of Imago Dei Institute, where both therapants are treated and clinicians trained in Imago Dei Psychology.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932589406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932589405
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. G.C. Dilsaver PsyD, MTS

Dr. Dilsaver conducts Imago Dei Institute, where therapants from around the world participate in Imago Dei Psychotherapy (IDP) both in person and via telephonic and video conferencing. Imago Dei Institute also trains and certifies clinicians in IDP. Dr. Dilsaver is the developer of the "Imago Dei Psychotherapeutic Conceptualization." He holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, as well as a degree in philosophy and a master degree in theology. Imago Dei Institute is a free standing campus located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. PH: 208.665.0014; EM: INFO@IDPSY.COM

For full information see the Imago Dei Clinic website: WWW.IDPSY.COM

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MWN on November 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this book should be a mandatory read for anyone interested in psychology, whether Catholic or non-Catholic. Seriously, it is that good! I took several college courses in psychology, but never did I understand how to integrate what I learned there with my Catholic faith. If you are looking for a book that can bring yourself or others to a greater state of mental health and yet not interfere with one's Christian faith, then definitely this is a book for you.
Just reading it, I gained a better understanding of myself and how to gain a clearer view of life that can be immediately put into practice. The principles presented in this book make sense and they 'really work' to bring healing where it is needed. I have read many other books on mental health but none have brought as much clarity as this book; this is probably because it is written very Thomistic (it is groundbreaking)!

Writing from Texas,
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JT on September 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent work for anyone interested in genuine healing of mental illness....Dr. Dilsaver goes deep, getting to the root of things & challenging patients to lives of virtue and transformation, rather than giving them techniques that don't transform them at the core, and ultimately keep them imprisoned in their illnesses. Dr. Dilsaver has tremendous respect and hope for suffering individuals and is courageous enough to challenge them to conquer their illness by human virtue....almost unheard of this day in age! Highly recommeded for both those suffering and also for professionals. This book is revolutionary!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Schmittle on May 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Dilsaver presents an excellent integration of perennial Catholic philosophy and moral theology with advances in psychology. When so many psychologists, even so-called Catholic psychologists, claim faith has no role in understanding human nature, Dilsaver boldly and convincingly shows how faith must necessarily be the very foundation of psychology in as much as the truth about HOW we should be is derived from WHAT we are: the Imago Dei.

Imago Dei Psychotherapy, or IDP, is a truly novel form of psychotherapy, yet despite its novelty in respect to Catholic psychology, it abounds in the richness of ancient wisdom recaptured and restored in a systematic clinical form that has been sorely lacking to those who see no need to pit faith against reason in the quest for mental health.

Dr. Dilsaver also gives an insiders view of the sad surrender by many Catholic psychologists to the momentum of modernist thought. Many in the "modern" world disdain dogma as some sort of chain that binds their freedom. What they don't seem to realize is the dogmatism of their own position that reference to faith invalidates academic or scientific discourse. Dogmatism can indeed be a chain to freedom if it is a dogma of error, and this is exactly what modernism is: the false dogma that faith and reason are inherently exclusive of each other and that the totality of Man's being can be reduced to empirical data. Such a dogma imprisons the intellect and will because it severs Man from the source of his power to be fulfilled: the grace of God that enlightens our intellect and empowers our will, enabling us to once again manifest God's image.
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