1st Edition

Spiritually Sensitive Psychoanalysis A Contemporary Introduction

By Gideon Lev Copyright 2023
    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides an accessible introduction to spiritually sensitive psychoanalysis, an analytic tradition characterized by sensitivity to the spiritual and religious dimensions of human life and oriented towards spiritual growth.

    Psychoanalysis has historically evinced severe suspicion to all ideas and ideals of religion and spirit. However, in recent years, a new analytic approach is emerging, which recognizes faith and spirituality as crucial parts of full, satisfying psychic life. This book explores the unique ways in which this approach refers to and understands core analytic issues such as transference, interpretation, psychopathology and psychic development. It goes on to expound the approach’s understanding of the analytic relationship and the way it influences the spiritual person. It also discusses the tensions arising between this emerging school of thought and the existing body of psychoanalytic knowledge.

    Psychoanalysis is a practice that deals with the most profound questions of life and creates shifts in the way reality is perceived. Discussing freely and deeply its spiritual aspects and aspirations will enlighten analysts new to the emerging spiritually sensitive tradition, as well as those who are more familiar with it, and who are looking for a comprehensive description of this fresh approach to analysis.

    Introduction: A breath of life  Part I - Spirituality in context  1. Things in heaven and earth: Psychoanalysis and spirit  2. A very peculiar science: A brief cultural history of psychoanalysis  Part II - A spiritual model  3. Religious instinct, sacred unconscious and the area of faith: Towards a new model of the psyche  4. God-representations, mystical addictions and spiritual bypasses: Adaptive treatment goals  5. Morality, selflessness, transcendence: Transformative treatment goals  Part III - Essential spirituality  6. The window is the absence of the wall: Psychoanalysis as a spiritual practice  7. A love through cure: The spirit of analytic relationship  Conclusion: Ecstasy and suffering resting in one another: The contribution of spiritually sensitive psychoanalysis 


    Gideon Lev, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, philosopher and spiritual seeker. He teaches at Tel Aviv University and is a staff writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. His previous books are llove (2015) and Truth Love Faith: A Psychoanalytic and Historic Look at the Meaning of Life (2018).

    'A moving, searching book in which psychoanalysis and spirituality nourish, add to and enrich one another as complex, multidimensional realities continue to grow. Through interaction of overlapping experiential practices, possibilities of the human find new life. My congratulations to Gideon Lev for undertaking the task of doing each domain justice, while bringing out the power of their communion in clinical practice and appreciative reflection.'

    Michael Eigen PhD, author of The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Faith, and Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis

    'Lev’s book is both modest and extremely ambitious. He recognises that there has been a ‘spiritual turn’ in psychoanalytic therapy. He didn’t invent spiritually-sensitive psychoanalysis. But his achievement is to demonstrate a deep understanding that there remains a pressing need to mainstream this turn so that it ceases to be niche, or remain the property of ‘transpersonal’ or ‘Jungian’ therapies. The original way in which the book is structured achieves this important and timely goal. Of equal significance is the broad range of spiritual and religious traditions upon which Lev draws. This represents a necessary ecumenicalism. At a time when the fastest growing approach to spirituality is termed SBNR (spiritual but not religious), it is the moment for psychoanalysis to make a somewhat different contribution than it has up to now. Maybe spiritually-sensitive psychoanalysis is a new tradition within which spirit coils weaves its web? And maybe this book will find its way onto all relevant reading lists?'

    Andrew Samuels, author of Persons, Passions, Psychotherapy, Politics and A New Anatomy of Spirituality