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Cath, S.H. (1982). Adolescence and Addiction to Alternative Belief Systems: Psychoanalytic and Psychophysiological Considerations. Psychoanal. Inq., 2(4):619-675.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 2(4):619-675

Adolescence and Addiction to Alternative Belief Systems: Psychoanalytic and Psychophysiological Considerations

Stanley H. Cath, M.D.

In attempting to follow the spirit of the “Credo” proposed by the editors of this journal in their first issue (1981), namely, of “pioneering ferment in the creative exploration of the mind … in the expanding scope of research into child development, neurophysiology, and cognitive development,” I shall follow the time-honored custom of falling back upon Freud's creative observations. Then, I will offer a speculative, I hope enriching but controversial integration.

In his all-too-little appreciated monograph on Group Psychology, Freud (1921), p. 95 wrote that in artificial groups “each individual is bound by libidinal ties on the one hand, to the leader and on the other hand to the other members of the group.” They may love the leader and share a common delusion that the leader loves all the individuals with an equal love. For examples he cited the military and a specific church.

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