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Lorand, S. (1962). Psycho-Analytic Therapy of Religious Devotees—(A Theoretical and Technical Contribution). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:50-56.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:50-56

Psycho-Analytic Therapy of Religious Devotees—(A Theoretical and Technical Contribution)

Sandor Lorand

The assurance, protection, and happiness which a religious devotee enjoys depend on his fulfilment of the teachings and ethical precepts of his religion.

The reassuring function of this divine protection may break down in certain individuals, who experienced severe trauma in adolescence or early childhood. In contrast to a well-adjusted religious devotee, the belief in prayer, symbolism, dogma, confession, and penance does not help to reduce their suffering. Even when they try to fulfil the religious and ethical precepts their worship fails to provide strength to cope with the vicissitudes and problems of life. They develop neurotic difficulties and somatic illness, the basis of which lies in earliest childhood experiences and home environment. The negative early family influence and frustrations become intensified by the particular type of religious influence they were exposed to during the developmental years.

A sense of guilt had been cultivated in them by parents, school authorities, and religious teachers; they themselves fostered it by continual self-criticism and lack of self-esteem. I shall deal with the religious beliefs and practices of these patients only from the standpoint of the question: how and to what extent it increased their difficulties in adjusting to reality functioning.

In the seventh chapter of his New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Freud says, in discussing the three functions which religion combines, that 'one can only understand this remarkable combination of teaching, consolation and precept (prohibitions and restrictions) in religion, if one subjects it to genetic analysis.

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