1st Edition

Psychoanalysis as a Spiritual Discipline In Dialogue with Martin Buber and Gabriel Marcel

By Paul Marcus Copyright 2021
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    The great existential psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger famously pointed out to Freud that therapeutic failure could "only be understood as the result of something which could be called a deficiency of spirit." Binswanger was surprised when Freud agreed, asserting, "Yes, spirit is everything." However, spirit and the spiritual realm have largely been dropped from mainstream psychoanalytic theory and practice.

    This book seeks to help revitalize a culturally aging psychoanalysis that is in conceptual and clinical disarray in the marketplace of ideas and is viewed as a "theory in crisis" no longer regarded as the primary therapy for those who are suffering. The author argues that psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be reinvigorated as a discipline if it is animated by the powerfully evocative spiritual, moral, and ethical insights of two dialogical personalist religious philosophers—Martin Buber, a Jew, and Gabriel Marcel, a Catholic—who both initiated a "Copernican revolution" in human thought.

    In chapters that focus on love, work, faith, suffering, and clinical practice, Paul Marcus shows how the spiritual optic of Buber and Marcel can help revive and refresh psychoanalysis, and bring it back into the light by communicating its inherent vitality, power, and relevance to the mental health community and to those who seek psychoanalytic treatment.


    1. Introduction: Psychoanalysis as a spiritual discipline
    2. The spirit of love
    3. The spirit of work
    4. The spirit of faith
    5. The spirit of suffering
    6. Towards a spiritualization of psychoanalysis


    Paul Marcus is a training and supervisory analyst at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis in New York City and co- chairperson of the discussion group Psychoanalysis and Spirituality at the American Psychoanalytic Association meetings. He is the author/ editor of 21 books, including Psychoanalysis, Classic Social Psychology and Moral Living: Let the Conversation Begin.

    A profoundly human exploration of significant dimensions of experience touching many aspects of our being. It is a pleasure to wander and wonder with it through mysteries of human engagement.

    Michael Eigen, author, The Challenge of Being Human, Faith, and The Sensitive Self