Mario Aletti, Kenneth Pargament, Gry Stålsett og Lars Johan Danbolt at the conference at Hamar 2017
In Hamar 
Professor dr. Mario Aletti, professor dr. Kenneth I. Pargament, accosiate professor dr. Gry Stålsett and professor dr. Lars Johan Danbolt.

MF Stands Out in Psychology of Religion

– The core of research within psychology of religion has moved from Sweden to Norway, says Associate Professor Gry Stålsett.


Dr. Tatjana Schnell

PhD Fellow at MF Maria Stensvold Ånonsen tells about her project, where informants take photos of their sources of meaning.

The IAPR-conference (International association of the psychology of religion) took place in Hamar in August, and on the agenda were topics such as pastoral therapy, connection to God, religious achievement and existential opinion formation at the end of life. The main speakers were dr. Valerie DeMarinis, dr. Kenneth I. Pargament, dr. Mohammad Khodayarifard and dr. Tatjana Schnell. They are all leading researchers within psychology, religion and spirituality, culture and existential opinion formation. Associate professor at MF, Gry Stålsett, specifically mentions the lectures about opinion formation from Tatjana Schnell as outstanding.

–​ Religion and spirituality are to possible sources for purpose and they provide a high indicator for meaningfulness, but only if it plays an important part in a persons life, says dr. Schnell in an interview with KPK, where she talks about how faith can decrease illness. 

Dr. Tatjana Schnell engaged the audience with her lecture. 

Promoting important research contacts
– The conference is an exciting meeting place for theologians and psychologists and other areas of expertise. Psychology of religion is an interdisciplinary academic field. For me, it meant a great deal that the international conference of psychology of religion took place in Norway, and also that MF was a co-organizer. To meet colleagues from all over the world who are concerned with looking at religious behavior through the lenses of psychology is exciting.

–​ Why is it important that MF was a contributor in organizing this conference?
In this, MF does important networking out in the world and conduces important research contacts and collaborations, Stålsett says.
– It was great that rector Vidar L. Haanes opened the conference, and that professor Lars Johan Danbolt led the whole event. For me, it was fun to contribute together with professor emeritus Leif Gunnar Engedal from MF and psychiatrist Arne Austad.
The three of them contributed with a case regarding religious metaphors in therapy.
– We have written about this in a chapter in the book “Ana-Marìa Rizzuto and the Psychoanalysis of Religion. The Road to the Living God”, just published in the USA, Stålsett tells. 

You can read more about the book here.

A vibrant academic environment in Norway
– How would you describe the development for the environment of psychology of religion at MF and in Norway the last decade?
– It has been a rapid development! The core of the research within psychology of religion in Scandinavia has moved from Sweden to Norway. It is a vibrant academic environment at a high level.
Stålsett says that there is still more to be done to have more students at MF to choose psychology of religion as an elective of specialization, and that this course is available for students from several programs.

The conference was organized by MF, Sykehuset i Innlandet/Religionspsykologisk Senter, VID Specialized University and Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences​.