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Rizzuto, A. (1990). In the Image of God. A Psychoanalyst's View: By Stanley A. Leavy, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1988. 112 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 59:479-481.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:479-481

In the Image of God. A Psychoanalyst's View: By Stanley A. Leavy, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1988. 112 pp.

Review by:
Ana-Maria Rizzuto

Stanley Leavy, a practicing psychoanalyst for forty years in the process of retiring from his practice, reflects in this book on the complexities of the human condition as he encountered it in his long career as a dedicated follower of Freud and his method and, also, as a faithful Christian of the Anglo-Catholic (Episcopal) tradition. The book presents a series of brief lectures given at Christ Church in New Haven. They were intended for educated men and women who are believers. As a result, Leavy's reflections depart from an existing faith in a creating and redeeming God, and do not attend to technical aspects of psychoanalysis. The purpose of Leavy's meditation is "to take up aspects of life on which psychoanalysis has something to tell us and to reflect on what this means to Christians and other believers. My subject is the 'image of God' in humans or, more properly, the refractions of that image that psychoanalysis has gathered" (p. 9).

Leavy has concluded that "the intensified study of nature …, human nature—leads toward and not away from faith in God" (p. x). The aspects of human life which analysands of necessity explore in the course of psychoanalysis touch upon the same concerns which religion, any religion, needs to face to respond to the quests posed by the conditions of life.

Analysands have to face such realities not only as beings in conflict but simply as human beings. The present reality of being oneself needs to find its sources in past developmental roots; love and hatred, separation and closeness, physical and personal suffering, and the final obscurity of death confront us all, believers or nonbelievers.

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