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1.      How are religious and spiritual leaders faring?

We invite papers and presentations that share findings from any study of religious leaders during the global pandemic(s) of 2020-21. We are especially interested in religious, spiritual and psychological analysis or assessments of the ways religious leaders, including chaplains, pastors, imams, rabbis, priests, teachers, monks, sisters, chieftains, pastoral counselors, and/or religious leaders of any faith group are coping with the challenges of the times. Specific topics might include (but are not limited to) the healthcare crisis, protests/activism, leadership, conflict, family stresses, personal mental health, stress and burnout, spiritual practices, and/or grief and loss. 

2.      What Do We Mean by the Word “Trauma”? An Interdisciplinary Exploration (Co-Sponsored with the Moral Injury and Recovery in Religion, Society, and Culture Unit)

The word "trauma" has accrued different meanings in various disciplinary contexts, with a more rapid accrual of meanings in recent years as trauma has been studied alongside related and often overlapping concepts (injury, harm, wounding, etc.). Theologians and ethicists, literary theorists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, and pastoral caregivers all engage trauma but do they mean the same thing? Definitions seem to be broader or narrower depending on whether one takes a theoretical or a clinical approach. Clinicians may use the term more specifically than theologians or ethicists. Writing on moral injury, post-traumatic growth, and trauma studies reveals multiple definitions as well, in addition to the DSM 5. This session addresses the question of what we mean by the word "trauma" and what does it matter?

3.      Virtual Caring: Psychological and Religious Relationality in the Age of Distance

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the era of “virtual care.” Ministry, psychotherapy, pastoral care, chaplaincy, teaching, and even the AAR Annual Meeting took place in virtual spaces. Many helping encounters became “shoulders-up” in contexts that have traditionally allowed and encouraged physical presence and visual engagement. In the past year, technology has often dictated the possibilities of care. This session explores the experience and effects of” relationality at a distance” from psychological, religious, and cultural perspectives. What has the pandemic taught us about relationality and care?

4.      Grim Convergences: Psychology and Religion at the Intersection of Loss, Trauma, and Violence

The realities of 2020 are not quite in the rearview mirror. 2021 and beyond will be a time of reckoning with the convergence of loss, trauma and violence that are hallmarks of 2020 and which have become active dynamics in our shared psychological, cultural, and religious landscape. This call for papers invites discussion about emerging theoretical and practical resources that are capable of analyzing and responding to the convergence of loss, trauma and violence resulting from the ongoing and overlapping pandemics of COVID-19 and the various social injustices that it brought to the foreground: race and healthcare, immigration policy and trauma, food insecurity, more. Our interest is to engage the psychological implications of this convergence, with an eye towards praxis that equips scholars and practitioners with frames of reference for psychological and spiritual care. Papers that privilege intersectional analysis via post-colonial, liberationist, critical race, womanist, feminist, queer, humanist, and interfaith lenses are especially welcome.

5.      Same Storm, Different Boats: Who Lives and Dies in a Pandemic?

While the COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted every human being around the world, the severity and extent to which individuals have experienced loss has varied greatly.  Some have lost careers, homes, and a viable way to provide even basic needs for themselves and their families. Others, who have financial autonomy or the privilege of working from home have benefited  - sometimes significantly - from pandemic-related businesses, opportunities to save money, or realizing the gains from the record year in the 2020 stock market. Poorer people have seen far worse health outcomes from the virus than those with wealth and access to premium health care. What do the vast disparities which have been accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic and determine who lives and who dies, or who degenerates into poverty and who accumulates more wealth, reveal about the unconscious social contract that governs society? What do these disparities reveal about the systems that determine which body-types (i.e., racial, gender, sexuality, age, etc.) are worth saving and protecting for life after the virus, and which body-types are disposable? This call for papers invites reflections on these disparities from religious and psychological perspectives.  


Mission Statement:

The PCR unit is comprised of scholars and practitioners in the fields of psychology, religious studies, and cultural analysis. The interests of our members range from Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis to the practice of pastoral counseling, from object relations theory to cultural studies of trauma and healing. Our primary purposes are to foster creative research, encourage the exchange of ideas among the membership, and provide a forum within the AAR for people with shared backgrounds in the interdisciplinary study of psychology, religion, and culture.

Here are ways to connect with the PCR unit

·         Please find info on the Annual PCR Call for Papers here:

·         Join the PCR listserv by writing to: 

·         You can also join the PCR Facebook group:

Method of Submission:




Eileen Campbell-Reed, eileen.campbellreed@gmail.com

Lisa M. Cataldo, lisacataldo7@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Pamela Cooper-White, pcooperwhite@uts.columbia.edu

Stephanie M. Crumpton, scrumpton@mccormick.edu

Danjuma Gibson, dgg085@calvinseminary.edu

Nicholas Grier, ngrier@cst.edu

Kirsten Sonkyo Oh, kirstenoh@gmail.com

Beth Toler, btoler71@gmail.com


Session Allotment: Tier 3 – One 2-hour session and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2023