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Gilberg, A.L. (1974). Asceticism and the Analysis of a Nun. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:381-393.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:381-393

Asceticism and the Analysis of a Nun

Arnold L. Gilberg, M.D.


A comprehensive survey of the psychoanalytic literature on asceticism is followed by a case report of a nun, with special attention paid to the ascetic motivation, through the early, middle, and terminal phases of her analysis. Whereas asceticism has been viewed as a core oedipal problem, the exploration of this case suggests that

early pregenital traumata are also important in the ascetic search. The oedipal phases of development cannot be synthesized until these pregenital needs are resolved.

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