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Neri, C. (2005). What is the function of faith and trust in psychoanalysis?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):79-97.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):79-97

What is the function of faith and trust in psychoanalysis?

Claudio Neri

Unlike other concepts such as ‘illusion’, ‘capacity to tolerate frustration’ and ‘libidinal investment’, the concept of faith has not yet found a well-defined position in psychoanalytic theory. Bion focused on faith and placed it in an unusual context: scientific work. Through the Act of Faith a researcher can give some consistency to certain ideas, hunches or intuitions that may appear during observation, though he cannot represent them by existing theory. Through the Act of Faith an analyst can ‘see’, ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ those mental phenomena, the reality of which leaves no practising psychoanalysts in doubt, even if they cannot represent them by current formulations. In this paper, the author aims to expand Bion's proposals into the clinical and therapeutic fields. In the first part, the author examines how faith and trust overlap, and how they depart from each other, and he gives an example. Faith possesses an igniting and driving force which trust doesn't possess to the same extent. In the second part, the author looks at F as a psychic function of the analyst, which aids him in supporting a depressed and hopeless patient while waiting for the return of the patient's desire to live. In the final part, he focuses on F from the patient's point of view and studies the transformations of F that may occur during an analysis.

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