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Barbanel, L. Klein, H. Klafter, A. Aron, L. (2016). Working with the Orthodox Jewish Patient: Complexities and Challenges. DIVISION/Rev., 14:30-34.

(2016). DIVISION/Review, 14:30-34

Working with the Orthodox Jewish Patient: Complexities and Challenges

Laura Barbanel, Hindie Klein, Andrew Klafter and Lew Aron

This article is based on a presentation given at the Division 39 Spring Conference, April 2014

The theme of this article is clinical work with Orthodox Jewish patients within a psychoanalytic framework. It is derived from a presentation by the four authors at a Division 39 conference in 2014. As such, there are four different voices in the article that hopefully make a coherent whole. Two of the authors are themselves members of the Orthodox Jewish community working analytically with Orthodox patients, one works outside the community but with community members, and the fourth is surveying the whole mix and commenting on it.

A number of questions will be addressed:

ο    Is there a conflict between the psychoanalytic tradition and the Orthodox Jewish tradition that makes work with such patients particularly difficult or, indeed, impossible?

ο    What does one have to know or deal with that is specific to working with the Orthodox Jewish community?

ο    Are their particular transference and countertransference issues in this work?

Religious Beliefs

Freud depicted religion as an illusion (1927/1961) and also wanted very much for psychoanalysis not to be seen as a Jewish science. He thought there was danger of psychoanalysis becoming a “Jewish national affair” (Klein, 1985). The first generation of psychoanalysts mostly carried forward and preserved Freud's notion of religion as an illusion and many also saw psychoanalysis and religion as incompatible.

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