Psychological Impact of Conversion

Pirutinsky, Steven. Conversion and attachment insecurity among Orthodox Jews. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 19 no 3 Jl-S 2009, p 200-206.

Abstract: Radical conversion, which entails a sweeping transformation of existing meaning systems, is often precipitated by emotional distress. Nevertheless, although many individuals turn toward religion when distressed, few undertake total and radical conversions. Previous research suggests that insecurely attached individuals—who resemble James's disillusioned, doubting, and divided sick souls—may be particularly prone to radical conversions. Thus, the present research examined insecure parental attachment history and convert status among 122 Orthodox and 31 non-Orthodox Jews, hypothesizing that converts to and from Orthodox Judaism, who undertake an all-encompassing transformation of beliefs, behaviors, values, and life's purpose, would report greater insecurity in parental attachment history than nonconverts. Results indicate that converts report greater maternal and paternal insecurity, as compared to both nonconverts and those with intra-Orthodox religious change. Thus, further research examining insecure attachment, and associated religious stressors and doubts, may uncover some of the individual differences underlying radical conversions.

Simon, Charles. “When Conversion is Not on the Agenda:  Developing Direct Support Strategies for Mixed Couples” Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought:  Summer-Fall 2006 v55 i1-2p99(8).

Abstract: This paper is part of a series...addressing inclusion of intermarrieds into Conservative Jewish life. Its purpose is to suggest specific strategies for rabbis--Conservative and otherwise--who are or will be working with mixed couples where the prospective non-Jewish spouse has decided, at least at this moment, that conversion is not an option.

Ross, Dennis. Psycho-social Issues in Conversion Journal of Reform Judaism 36, 1 (1989) 31-52.

Abstract: Most rabbis find it a challenge to attend simultaneously to Jewish requirements and to the prospective convert's mental health needs. In seeking guidance, the rabbi will find many relevant studies of conversion scattered throughout the literature; no single written resource speaks to all of the concerns. This article partially fills the vacuum by bringing together a variety of studies on conversion - focusing on the conversion sparked by a marriage, "the conversionary marriage."

Kelley, Joseph T. "Some implications of Lonergan's view of conversion for pastoral counseling." Journal of Pastoral Care 40 no 4 D 1986, p 359-366.

Abstract: Notes similarities between art and psychotherapy Argues that Bernard Lonergan's understanding of intellectual, moral , and religious conversion provides a helpful framework for seeing the processes of pastoral counseling and offers as well a good illustration of how our theological notions can enrich the pastoral counselor's hermeneutic project

Nehrbass, Dan. CIRCUMCISION AS A SHADOW OF CONVERSION. Clergy Journal; Mar/Apr2009, Vol. 85 Issue 4, p53-54, 2p

Abstract: The author reflects on the issue of circumcision in the Bible. He argues that circumcision is important and its concept shows four points of application to every Christian's conversion. The concept states that circumcision and conversion are both painful, public, permanent and peculiar. Thus, the author believes that the issue of circumcision in the Old and New Testament has a great relevance to the conversion of Christians nowadays.