The following are selected projects undertaken by Victor Counted in the past couple of years. This was made possible with the help of several affiliated universities. The studies are contributions to the fields of psychology and theology, with data collections done across different continents (Africa, Europe, and Australia). A short description of these projects have been provided below, with details of reports, lectures, and publications that are linked to each project.


Research Project 3
  • May 2016 to present
  • Hosting University: Religion and Society Research Cluster, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, Australia.
  • Researchers: Victor Counted (Psychology of Religion/Spirituality and Spiritual Care); Adam Possamai (Sociology of Religion); Tanya Meade (Clinical Psychology); Cameron McAuliffe (Human and Urban Geography).

The study looks at the impact of ‘place spirituality’ (i.e. the affective bond between an individual, a divine attachment figure, and a place) on quality of life (i.e. psychological health, physical health, social relationships, environmental health).  The study explores how expressions of spirituality is a social reality in a place to which people are drawn and attached to, and how this form of religiosity serves as a management strategy for negotiating physical health, psychological health, environmental health, and social relationships, or quality of life in general. Taking the African diaspora population in Australia as a case study, this research project employs a mixed methods approach to explore the association between place spirituality and quality of life, the experiences of place attachment and spirituality in Australia, and the various mechanisms showing the resiliency of place spirituality in negotiating the quality of life of members of the African Diaspora within different networks and spaces in Australia.  

Diaspora Place Spirituality in the Netherlands

Research Project 2
  • May 2015 to April 2016 (completed)
  • Hosting University: Department of Comparative Study of Religion, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Researchers: Victor Counted (Psychology of Religion/Spirituality & Spiritual Care); Hetty Zock (Psychology of Religion and Mental Health); Kim Knibbe (Sociology & Anthropology of Religion).

The goal of the research project was to explore place as a product of an emotional attachment to God, thus examining how a relationship with God can help in dealing with the difficulties associated with living in a foreign land. This study introduces a new framework for understanding place spirituality and African diaspora spirituality/religions which was conceptualized as the attachment bond established between an individual, a place, and a divine attachment figure. The following are research article that came out of this project:

Conference Presentations/Lectures/Posters

  • Conference presentation: The Circle of Place Spirituality: A Study of the African Diaspora in the Netherlands. A paper to be presented at The Australian Association for the Study of Religion Annual Conference (26 November, 2016), hosted by the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Australia
  • Poster presentation: Place attachment and spirituality of the African diaspora in Europe. A poster for the European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health at the University of Gdansk, Poland (May 12-14, 2016)

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles 

  • Counted, AV (2016). ‘Making Sense of Place Attachment: Towards a Holistic Understanding of People-place Relationships and Experiences.’ Environment, Space, Place, vol-8, issue 1, pp. 7-32 (Available here) (via Zeta Books)


Research Project 1
  • August 2013 to March 2015 (completed)
  • Hosting University: Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Researchers: Victor Counted (Psychology of Religion/Spirituality and Spiritual Care); DX Simon (Missiology).

The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of identity crisis among young South Africans. The research applied theories of authenticity and attachment to conceptualise the self-images and God-images of young people as indicators of their identity crises. This research was carried out with support from the Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University South Africa, Prof DX Simon,  Prof Jurgens Hendriks, NeTACT, St Nicholas Roman Catholic Church Stellenbosch, Dutch Reformed Church Stellenbosch, Grace Chapel Stellenbosch, and New Generation World Changers Church Stellenbosch in South Africa. This project was done in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa. Research findings and reports can be found on my publications page. In particular, the following are research articles that came out of this project:

Conference Presentations/Lectures

  • Conference presentation: Paper: Investigating youth identity crisis and the internal conflict with the divine and self. A paper to be presented at the Youth, health and practical justice: An interdisciplinary conference at the University of New South Wales, Australia (4 – 5 December 2016)
  • Conference presentation: Spirituality and Well-being in South African Youths. A paper presented at the Spirituality, Culture, and Well-being Conference at Exclesia College Sydney, Australia (4 – 5 Oct. 2016). (Download PPT here)
  • Conference presentation: Patterns of the God-image Functioning: A study of Christian youths in South Africa. A paper presented at the International Association of the Study of Youth Ministry at the Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (March 30 – 2nd April, 2016).
  • Lecture: Youth Identity Crisis: God images and self images. Lecture presented at the Christian Youth Forum Stellenbosch, April 24, 2015. (Download PDf)

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles 

  • Counted, V. & A. Moustapha (in press). Between God and Self: Measuring the Attachment to God and Authenticity/Inauthenticity Tendencies of South African Christian Youths. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture (Peer-reviewed)
  • Counted, V. (in press). ‘Young, Attached, and Anxious: A mixed methods study on maintaining proximity to God’. Reggie Nel (ed.), Youth Ministry in Africa 
  • Counted, V. (2016). ‘Missionising Youth Identity Crisis: Towards a missional hermeneutic of care in youth ministry practice.’ Missionalia: Southern African Journal of Missiology, 44:1, pp. 85–102 (Download PDf) (via Southern African Missiological Society)
  • Counted, V. (2016). ‘Being Authentic is the New Image: A Qualitative Study on the Authenticity Constructions and Self-images of Christian Millennials in Africa.’ Mental health, Religion, and Culture, 19:3, pp.268–294 (Download PDf) (via Routledge)
  • Counted, V. (2016). ‘God as an Attachment Figure: A Case Study of the God Attachment Language and God Concepts of Anxiously Attached Christian Youths in South Africa.’ Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, Vol 18, 2. (Download PDf) (via Routledge)
  • Counted, A.V. (2016). ‘The psychology of youth faith formation: A care-giving faith?’ Journal of Youth and Theology 15 (2), pp.146 – 172 (Access here) (via Brill)
  • Counted, V. (2015). ‘Understanding God images and God concepts: Towards a pastoral hermeneutics of the God attachment experience.’ Verbum et Ecclesia Vol 36(1), Art. #1389, 14 pages. (Download PDf) (via aosis publishing)