"sometimes i don't even know where i am going": What supports individualized personal spiritual change?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unlike processes of spiritual change within or between-faith, individualized processes of spiritual change cannot rely on the support provided by institutional religions through religious rituals, agents and coherent belief system (e.g., Pargament & Mahoney, 2009; Rambo, 1993). To understand how individuals manage such a potentially arduous change process, the present study explored the facilitating processes of deep personal spiritual change outside of institutional religion, using a qualitative-phenomenological perspective. In-depth interviews were conducted with 27 Israeli adults (13 men and 14 women between the ages of 25 and 66), who were undergoing such change. The analysis of the interviews uncovered 2 main kinds of supporting resources: internal-personal (i.e., deliberate choice, courage, and intentional attention and awareness) and external-environmental (i.e., the availability of spiritual contexts and experiences, spiritual groups and like-minded peers, spiritual teachers, and a sense of connection to a higher power or the transcendent). The findings underscore the pervasiveness of supporting mechanisms that individuals undergoing self-led spiritual change use. These reflect 3 central orientations, internal, horizontal, and vertical, that together maintain these change processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • adulthood
  • qualitative methodology
  • spiritual change
  • spirituality
  • supporting processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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