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Reik, T. (1929). The Therapy of the Neuroses and Religion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:292-302.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:292-302

The Therapy of the Neuroses and Religion

Theodor Reik

In contributing to this discussion, it is only with reluctance that I have made up my mind to gainsay the views expressed, since we know ourselves to be at one in all fundamental questions of analytic theory and practice. Will you permit me, however, to start from a somewhat wider basis?

The dangers threatening analysis are twofold: it may be discussed as a therapeutic method in the appendix of clinical manuals, or it may appear as the shallow, rehashed Weltanschauung of journalistic philosophers or philosophic journalists. (I beg you to decide for yourselves in which of the two categories you wish to put Herr Prinzhorn and his 'second aspect of psycho-analysis, the one concerned with a general philosophy of life'.) I perceive a tendency in the direction of the first danger in those analytic writings which consist chiefly of physiological and neurological theories, many biological points of view, and even some psychological remarks. To continue the course in either of these two opposite directions—restricting the field, and reducing it to superficiality—would lead to the end of psycho-analysis, as we understand it. The continued existence and the deepening of psycho-analysis can only be safeguarded against these risks if its character as psychological science is set in the foreground. Over-emphasis of the therapeutic side leads with logical necessity to unjustified restrictions of the significance of psycho-analysis, and in its further consequences to loss of its deepest scientific achievements.

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