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Psyche--the meeting of mind and soul: current psychoanalytic views on the mental representation of god.

Authors
  • Clemens, Norman A1
  • 1 Norman A. Clemens, MD, is Emeritus Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center, and a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Psychoanalysts.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of psychiatric practice
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2013
Volume
19
Issue
6
Pages
495–497
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1097/01.pra.0000438189.97161.59
PMID: 24241503
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The author presents an overview of two contemporary, related psychoanalytic perspectives on religious phenomena. Based on data from systematic interviews, Ana-Maria Rizzuto explores the way the human mind forms the idea of God as it evolves through the various stages of childhood and adult development. The object-representation of God is greatly influenced by the mental representations of mother, father, and other important adults in the child's life. Object relations theory and the writings of Winnicott play an important role in these concepts. William Meissner, a Jesuit priest as well as a psychoanalyst, addresses Freud's views of religious belief as an illusion, or when accepted with certainty as real, as a delusion. Instead, Meissner sees religious belief as a developmental process that resides in the mental realm of transitional phenomena where spirituality, creativity, appreciation of beauty, transcendental states, play, and the psychoanalytic process itself also take place. In psychoanalytic treatment, religious phenomena are not exempt from exploration and understanding, perhaps resulting in more mature development of object representations, ego functions, and the superego functions of conscience and ego ideal as well as more mature religious life.

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