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Title: 'Sacred psychoanalysis' : an interpretation of the emergence and engagement of religion and spirituality in contemporary psychoanalysis
Author: Ross, James Alistair
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 6292
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2010
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From the 1970s the emergence of religion and spirituality in psychoanalysis is a unique development, given its traditional pathologizing stance. This research examines how and why ‘sacred psychoanalysis’ came about and whether this represents a new analytic movement with definable features or a diffuse phenomena within psychoanalysis that parallels developments elsewhere. After identifying the research context, a discussion of definitions and qualitative reflexive methodology follows. An account of religious and spiritual engagement in psychoanalysis in the UK and the USA provides a narrative of key people and texts, with a focus on the theoretical foundations established by Winnicott and Bion. This leads to a detailed examination of the literary narratives of religious and spiritual engagement understood from: Christian; Natural; Maternal; Jewish; Buddhist; Hindu; Muslim; Mystical; and Intersubjective perspectives, synthesized into an interpretative framework of sacred psychoanalysis. Qualitative interviews were then undertaken with leading experts focusing on the lived experience of contemporary psychoanalysts. From a larger sample, eleven interviews were selected for a thematic narrative analysis and from within this sample, six interviews were then the focus of a reflexive intersubjective analysis, utilizing psychoanalytic techniques. This research concludes that three forms of sacred psychoanalysis can be identified embracing a generic framework for theoretical and clinical understanding; a framework for intersubjective presence; and a framework for spiritual/sacred encounter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; BL Religion