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Arundale, J. (2002). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 18(3):319-320.

(2002). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 18(3):319-320


Jean Arundale

In This Issue …

Papers from a conference entitled God and the Unconscious: A Contribution to the New Dialogue between Psychotherapy and Religion are presented herein. David Black introduces and contextualizes the themes, signalling the potential for religions to unify and to encompass opposites. Christopher MacKenna speaks of enduring religious symbols embedded in the unconscious. He examines the process of psychological-cum-spiritual development found in the Bible as a central dynamic underlying the text, and presents case material relating to a patient's faith. Rodney Bomford argues that levels of discourse in Christian faith form the logic of the unconscious, relating to the theories of Matte Blanco. He notes that the powerful mystical experiences of God are found in the deepest unconscious layers and are shared by many faiths.

We include further contributions on the topic.

In the Jewish faith the rabbi is a teacher of religious wisdom, a storyteller and a healer. Howard Cooper draws comparisons between the rabbi and the psychotherapist, featuring bodily experience and the countertransference. As a Muslim and a psychoanalyst, Fakhry Davids writes of religious and racial stereotyping that produced polarized responses to the world crisis following September 11th.

In Irish mythology there are ancient tales of madness that describe the psychotic state in terms parallel with those of Freud and Klein. However, these narratives of the ‘wild man’ outside society, tales of the battlefield, passion, poetics, melancholia, and object loss, writes Brendan McMahon, are less concerned with inner causes, but more with the social context, the rejection of the human by the subject, and his therapeutic return to the social world.

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