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W., H. (1949). The Rôle of Ethics and Religion in Psychoanalytic Theory and Therapy: Max Levy-Suhl. Int. J. Psa., XVII, 1946, pp. 110–119.. Psychoanal Q., 18:122-122.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Rôle of Ethics and Religion in Psychoanalytic Theory and Therapy: Max Levy-Suhl. Int. J. Psa., XVII, 1946, pp. 110–119.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:122-122

The Rôle of Ethics and Religion in Psychoanalytic Theory and Therapy: Max Levy-Suhl. Int. J. Psa., XVII, 1946, pp. 110–119.

H. W.

Levy-Suhl asks the question, 'Has Freud succeeded in bringing the higher values in man, in particular ethics, under a psychoanalytic explanation?'. He answers in the affirmative, first by a discussion of the applicability of the scientific method to this particular problem, second by a description of the development of the reality principle, guilt and the rôle of the death instinct. In a third section of the paper he delineates that resistance to psychoanalytic therapy which is based on guilt and the need to suffer punishment. He claims that such a feeling of guilt is quite justified in its ultimate evaluation of the child's destructive impulses, and that a patient must consciously suffer this guilt and understand its true causes before cure can be effected. He calls this 'an ethical achievement'. Similarly, in overcoming resistances based on narcissism, Levy-Suhl maintains that a 'religious change must take place' in the sense that one must submit with humility to the dictates of the larger good.

In summary the author says that during therapy, unconscious needs for punishment must be used in overcoming narcissistic barriers and, 'conversely, where the repression of the demands of conscience stands in the foreground as the moral factor, a piece of narcissistic humiliation, in the religious sense, will be necessary for healing'.


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Article Citation

W., H. (1949). The Rôle of Ethics and Religion in Psychoanalytic Theory and Therapy. Psychoanal. Q., 18:122-122

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.