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Domash, L. (2009). The Emergence of Hope: Implicit Spirituality in Treatment and the Occurrence of Psychoanalytic Luck. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(1):35-54.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(1):35-54

The Emergence of Hope: Implicit Spirituality in Treatment and the Occurrence of Psychoanalytic Luck

Leanne Domash, Ph.D.

Western culture has tended to separate the spiritual and the secular, and psychoanalysis as part of this tradition has done this as well. This article is a reconsideration of this dichotomy by articulating the implicit spirituality in the psychoanalytic situation and how this facilitates change, an aspect of which I am calling “psychoanalytic luck.” This is defined as a blend of unconscious freedom and lucky circumstance. The thesis is that the implicit spirituality—the meditative quality and deep faith that develops between patient and analyst—is a key factor in allowing the openness and unconscious freedom that facilitates change. This atmosphere provides the space in which psychoanalytic luck can happen to either analyst or patient, or both, at various moments. Frequently, the implicit spirituality allows the analyst the play space in which to associate, to capture the fleeting thought or image that may hold the clue to uncovering the problem. The analyst serves as a guide, both by revealing new connections to the patient, like making new roads on an old map, and by serving a modeling function as well as a source of inspiration. Then the patient, who is also in this play space, gains the openness and courage to experience and take advantage of the opportunity and dare to change. This occurs both from identification with the analyst and from the result of the analyst's interpretations.

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