An Interesting Contradiction: A Study of Religiously Committed, Psychoanalytically Oriented Clinicians

Volume
Volume 22
Issue
Winter 1994
Title
An Interesting Contradiction: A Study of Religiously Committed, Psychoanalytically Oriented Clinicians
Abstract

This presentation summarizes an exploratory study of twelve religiously committed, psychoanalytically oriented clinicians (RPC's). The study, grounded in object-relations theory, employs a clinical interviewing methodology to focus on three primary questions: 1) How do RPC's integrate their psychoanalytic and religious perspectives? 2) How did they deal with religious issues in their own treatments? 3) How do they work with religious concerns with their own patients? A major finding was that religious involvement and the nature of God representations are significantly affected by psychotherapy even when these issues are not specifically addressed in treatment. Another prominent finding was that the clinical style of the RPC was primarily determined by his own therapeutic experience in terms of working with religious issues. Prominent impasses in clinical work with religious patients and religious therapists are enumerated. Paralleling the "compartmentalization of codes" that characterizes the integration efforts of many of the subjects, a dual representation model for God is proposed. The model describes how the adoption of a "public," abstract God is frequently employed to cloak the maintenance of a highly personal relationship with a private, transitional object God. Five directions for further research are suggested and the capacity for ideology to serve object functions is discussed.

Author
Dr. P. Cohen
Pages
304 - 318
Price
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