Poetics of Reconcilement: Psychoanalysis and Dilemmas of Faith

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Abstract

The article offers an original and comprehensive review of the history of psychoanalytic attitudes toward faith and a religious worldview. It begins with a systematic examination of Freud’s approach to religion and faith, demonstrating that contrary to the common understanding of his attitude as one of radical atheism, Freud displayed ambivalence on this issue. After Freud’s death, psychoanalysis as a discipline seems to have effected a split: Whereas the psychoanalytic establishment adopted and reinforced the antireligious stance, a small number of prominent analytic thinkers nurtured the possibility of integrating faith into their practice. Since the beginning of the 21st century, changes in social and cultural trends, encouraging spiritual attitudes, will be shown to have permeated into the psychoanalytic mainstream.

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