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Prior to searching a specific psychoanalytic concept, you may first want to review The Language of Psycho-Analysis written by Laplanche & Pontalis. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Fattori, L. Secchi, C. (2015). Existential Crises in Two Religious Patients: Vicissitudes of Faith and the Emergence of the True Self. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(4):993-1011.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(4):993-1011

Existential Crises in Two Religious Patients: Vicissitudes of Faith and the Emergence of the True Self Language Translation

Lucia Fattori and Cesare Secchi

(Accepted for publication 2 May 2014)

The authors present two clinical cases involving an existential crisis which led the patients to lose what had been the foundation in their lives, their faith. Although the therapeutic settings differ - the first patient had a few psychotherapy sessions following a psychotic episode with a mystical background, while the second was in the final stage of analytic treatment - the authors highlight how in both clinical cases a loss of faith becomes a total and urgent crisis of the Self. The fracture which ensues seems to generate an intense engagement of the body which, paradoxically during a loss of faith, induces an experience of ecstasy of the kind that has traditionally been reported. In the first case the experience of ecstasy was lived first-hand by the patient who thereafter redefined the psychotic breakdown as a “moment of truth”; whereas the second patient, through a deep projective identification, induces an eerie countertransferential feeling of ‘metaphysical’ shortfall in the agnostic psychoanalyst, triggering bewilderment, physical discomfort and awe in him. In both cases the authors believe that the notable somatic involvement may be correlated to a potentially profound and unprecedented contact with the True Self.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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