Faith Development Theory: Fowler Case Study

Pages: 17 (5155 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Religion - Judaism  ·  Written: September 1, 2019

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Erikson said that people in late adulthood reflect on their lives and feel either a sense of satisfaction or a sense of failure. People who feel proud of their accomplishments feel a sense of integrity, and they can look back on their lives with few regrets. However, people who are not successful at this stage may feel as if their life has been wasted. They focus on what “would have,” “should have,” and “could have” been. They face the end of their lives with feelings of bitterness, depression, and despair.

Source: Adapted from Erickson’s 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development 5-6

Based on her responses, the interviewee’s psychosocial development appears to a blend of the intimacy versus isolation and generativity versus stagnation stages. Indeed, the transcript identifies some significant overlaps between these development stages as exemplified by her comments that:

I’ve begun to really feel the cycles, feel myself as part of the cycles, and feel that Judaism very much is attuned to these. For example, the cycles of a day which is emphasized in Judaism, the idea if one really observes the set prayers and rituals even during a day, there’s a separate day, there’s a separate week, there’s a separate month, a lunar month. There are times, there are reasons and each of the holidays in fact every season is really marked by a holiday at some time or another that comes around at harvest time for instance.

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The perception of the cyclical nature of human existence is reflective of the generativity versus stagnation stage; however, other responses were more reflective of the intimacy versus isolation stage. For instance, when asked about her relationship between her feelings and her power or ability with respect to her strength of faith, the interviewee responded:

Case Study on Faith Development Theory: Fowler Assignment

This is something I haven’t really thought about before because what happens is that no matter how impotent and how totally depressed I become or totally feeling not being able to create, not being able to accomplish anything, somehow there is still within me this faith that I will be able to accomplish it, I’m just not doing it now. There is one thing that’s very strong within me, the feeling of new beginnings.

Notwithstanding the nebulosity of this response, though, the interviewee did follow up this response with a clarification that was reflective of the generativity versus stagnation stage, perhaps venturing even into the integrity versus despair stage:

I’ve begun to feel a sort of destiny, I don’t know whether it’s my will or whether it’s just forces around me, but feeling on the one hand incredibly powerful and on the other hand incredibly impotent at times, and this I’m beginning to connect up with faith, and feeling the cycles during which my life will go – I can look back now and see the whole year as a year in which I think was a real ‘down’ year, followed by a year in which I felt incredibly creative.

In other words, the interviewee remains on a path of self discovery that includes some overlap between development stages as propounded by Erikson, but there are some other useful tools that are available that can help illuminate her faith development progress, including Fowler’s faith development perspective as discussed further below.

III. Fowler’s Faith Development Perspective

A copy of the completed Faith Development Interview scoring form for the interviewee is provided in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Faith Development Stage Scoring Form

Age: 40 years Gender: Female

Aspects and related questions

Passage number(s)

Criteria number(s)

Stage score

A. Form of logic

5. Breakthrough experiences?

15

5

4

6. Times of crisis or suffering?

9

5

5

11. Change one thing?

10

4

4

15. Decision (A)

11

5

5

Average aspect a stage score

4.5

B. Social perspective taking

2. Past relationships

21

5

7. Your parents?

23

5

8. Current relationships?

19, 21

3

Average aspect B stage score

4.33

C. Form of moral judgment

16. What makes an action right?

27, 29

5

23. What is sin?

11

5

24. Explain evil?

27

5

25. Religious conflicts?

10, 11, 13, 15

4

Average aspect C stage score

4.75

D. Bounds of social awareness

1. Marker events?

17

5

3. Changes in relationships?

19

4

9. Groups, institutions, causes?

22, 23, 24

5

Average aspect D stage score

4.66

E. Locus of authority

10. Life has meaning?

1, 2

4

12. Beliefs, values, commitments?

8

3

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