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Quinodoz, J. (2016). On: Existential Crises in two Religious Patients - Vicissitudes of Faith and the Emergence of the True Self. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1425-1427.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1425-1427

Letters to the Editor

On: Existential Crises in two Religious Patients - Vicissitudes of Faith and the Emergence of the True Self

Jean-Michel Quinodoz

Dear Editor,

The article by Fattori and Secchi (2015) raises the delicate question of the relations between psychoanalysis and religious faith in connection with two clinical cases. In my opinion, it is essential that the psychoanalyst maintains throughout the treatment a distinction between the field of psychoanalysis, which is his field of competence, and the field of spiritual experience - in particular that of faith (and the absence of faith) - which is a private matter for both the analyst and the analysand. In so far as the specificity of these two fields is respected, one could consider that they are mutually supportive, and think, for example, that psychoanalysis offers the possibility for a believer to purify his faith (Pfister, 1928; Ricoeur, 1965). And yet, in their observations about Father Davide and Luca, the authors seem to me to create interferences between the field of psychoanalysis and that of faith, with the risk of causing confusion, sometimes to the detriment of the interpretation of the transference and countertransference relationship.

The case of Father Davide concerned a 28 year-old Catholic priest who had several sessions of psychotherapy following hospitalization in a psychiatric clinic for an acute state of delirium with mystical content. At the end of this pathological episode, the patient declared that his delirium had had the beneficial effect of allowing him to recover the faith he had lost, and that he was now confident about the genuineness

[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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