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Cataldo, L.M. (2019). Where God is Between Us: Religious Experience, Surrender, and the Third in Clinical Perspective. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(2):113-133.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(2):113-133

Encounters with Religious Experience in Psychoanalysis

Where God is Between Us: Religious Experience, Surrender, and the Third in Clinical Perspective

Lisa M. Cataldo, MDiv, PhD

When patients bring up material of a religious or spiritual nature, many analysts find themselves at a loss. There is a tendency in such moments either to reduce the patient’s experience to the most comfortable theoretical denominator or to accept such experiences uncritically. In this paper, the author places “religion” and religious experience in the relational context of formative early experience and argues that relational history is an important contributor to the capacity to have authentic and expansive religious experience. Drawing upon clinical examples and relational psychoanalytic concepts of surrender and the Third, the author suggests ways in which the analyst might interact with the patient’s religious and spiritual experiences by understanding them in terms of surrender and the opening to or foreclosure of thirdness.

[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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