The Return of the Repressed
Psychoanalysis As Spirituality
Keywords:psychoanalysis, spirituality, mysticism, psychospirituality, implicit religion
AbstractRecent years have witnessed an increasing embrace of forms of religion and spirituality within the field of psychoanalysis. This article examines the emergence of the phenomena of “psychoanalysis as spirituality,” namely the radical claims, advanced by a number of influential contemporary analysts, that the unconscious has an inherently mystical dimension and that psychoanalysis can function as a modern secular spiritual practice. It creatively adopts Freud’s concept of the “return of the repressed,” the return of desires that, being socially unacceptable, have been excluded from consciousness, to suggest that the current conflation of psychoanalysis and spirituality signifies a recovery of the hidden historic religious and esoteric origins of psychoanalysis. It concludes that the wider post-modern shift within psychoanalysis has undermined oppositions between the scientific and the religious, the objective and subjective, the ego and id, and created a contemporary context in which these repressed esoteric roots can manifest in culturally acceptable ways.
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