Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Religion

Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Religion: Transference and Transcendence

JAMES W. JONES
Copyright Date: 1991
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bggw
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  • Book Info
    Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Religion
    Book Description:

    The psychoanalytic study of religion has until now been dominated by a Freudian perspective that views the religious experience as a one-way transference, where the devotee projects his instinctually based childhood wishes, fears, and behaviors onto a religious construct. In this path-breaking book, James W. Jones, a clinical psychologist and professor of religion, challenges this view. Building on more recent theories in which the self is construed as a matrix of internalized relationships, he investigates ways in which religious beliefs, practices, and experiences reflect the structure of the relational self.

    Drawing on both theory and practice, Jones not only reviews the relevant psychoanalytic literature but also illustrates his thesis with an in-depth discussion of four clinical cases. He examines models of transference since Freud by Fairbairn, Kohut, Gill, and Roland, and he describes previous applications of psychoanalysis to religion by Rizzuto, Winnicott, and Kohut. He concludes by discussing the nature of religion, bringing such theologians, philosophers, and psychoanalysts as Otto, Bollas, Tillich, and Buber into a multi-disciplinary dialogue.

    The book will give the scholar and student of religious studies the latest psychoanalytic theories and demonstrate their relevance for religious studies. It will also help the clinician grasp the role of religion in human life.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16192-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION A NEW PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE STUDY OF RELIGION
    (pp. 1-8)

    Since the inception of the psychoanalytic study of religion, Freudian and Jungian paradigms have dominated it. The termanalysiscomes from the Greek word meaning to loosen; just as descendants of Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle were “loosening” the structure of matter, breaking it down into atoms and molecules, so Sigmund Freud’s goal was to break down the patterns of human behavior into their component energies and mechanisms. To understand meant to analyze, to lay bare the structures beneath the surface. And Freud possessed the heuristic courage to follow the analytic trail however deep it led into the caverns of...

  5. CHAPTER 1 MODELS OF RELATIONSHIP
    (pp. 9-33)

    The book begins, in these first two chapters, with a broad theoretical perspective, outlining the history of Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalytic theories of transference and something of their possible application to the study of religion. The scope of these developments will be traced, along with the emergence of a new model of human nature which they represent.

    In the beginning of psychoanalysis, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud spoke of the patient transferring “onto the figure of the physician the distressing ideas which arise from the content of the analysis” (1893–1895:302). At the end of his career, inAn Outline...

  6. CHAPTER 2 TRANSFERENCE AND TRANSCENDENCE
    (pp. 34-67)

    Understanding the transference, then, has implications far beyond undoing the repression of instincts. Analyzing the transference also means comprehending how experiences are assimilated into and function within the patient’s characteristic styles of making meaning and relating to the world and how the person’s behavior expresses the internalized relational structures of his or her personality. These different theoretical approaches to the transference also have important consequences for a psychoanalytic investigation of religion. Their import can be demonstrated through comparison with other psychoanalytic studies of religion, several of which will be surveyed below.

    Freud’s model of the transference as repetition would lead...

  7. CHAPTER 3 TRANSFERENCE AND THE DYNAMICS OF RELIGION
    (pp. 68-85)

    The focus of this chapter will be primarily on the function of the God image in the person’s psychic economy rather than on its origin. The category of transference is the major lens through which I will address this question of function. Clearly this shift in emphasis from origin to function mirrors the shift in the understanding of the transference that has taken place in modern psychoanalytic theorizing.

    If it is the case, as previously suggested, that religion can be conceptualized as a form of transference in the interpersonal sense described in the first chapter, then there ought to be...

  8. CHAPTER 4 TRANSFERENCE AND TRANSFORMATION
    (pp. 86-110)

    How is it possible for someone who has suffered extensive early damage to form a positive image of God? This question parallels the psychotherapeutic issue of the possibility for such people of forming a working alliance with the therapist and reworking their sense of self. The previous chapter described four patients and the parallels between changes occurring in the transference and transformations in their relationship to the sacred. This chapter will investigate whether the same dynamics function in both processes and how any parallels might illuminate the transformations that take place in and through religious practices.

    The theories of change...

  9. CHAPTER 5 TOWARD A PSYCHOANALYSIS OF THE SACRED
    (pp. 111-136)

    The previous chapters began with the individual’s psychodynamics, as revealed in therapy and particularly in the transference, and proposed that changes in those dynamics would be reflected in transformations in the patient’s relation to the sacred. Earlier I suggested the possibility of beginning from the other side—with the person’s sense of the sacred being reflected in their inner object world as well as reflecting it.

    The previous analyses tacitly assume that the sense of the sacred is the dependent variable and the inner object-relational constellation is the independent variable. Assuming the priority of the psychodynamic is the only way...

  10. REFERENCES
    (pp. 137-142)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 143-144)