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The Psychology of Religion Essay

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The Psychology of Religion is composed of a variety of different perspectives, which in certain cases proves difficult in determining both the clinical and pastoral implications of a theory. Modern-day psychology has demonstrated possible beneficial results in religious spiritual individuals, however, much of the current research has avoided questioning the “real” presence of the Divine or a Higher Being. Although a century has passed since his undertaking of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud readily settled the question of religion by declaring it a form of mental illness. While Freud’s Psychology of Religion is that religion only exists as a neurosis, his view provides the three clinical implications of hypnotism, free association, and dream analysis, each of which have also remained a source of criticism.
Rather than recognize the beneficial aspects religion and spirituality have to offer, Freud instead likened religion to a mental illness, which could be cured through psychoanalysis. When discussing weaknesses of society in Civilization and its Discontents, Freud remarks “The religions of humanity, too, must be classified as mass-delusions…Needless to say, no one who shares a delusion recognizes it as such.” (“Civilization and its Discontents” 774). Freud felt that his conclusion on religion was logical, yet he relied on paring it to disorders, such as hysteria, in an attempt to gain scientific credibility. Freud also benefitted from the delusion comparison because it offered yet another situation in which his psychoanalytic tools could be used.
While Freud rarely made use of hypnotism, he did not advise against its use on an individual basis as a means of self-analysis. Citing the potential damage resulting from a therapist...


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...etation of Dreams.” The Major Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed.
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Freud, Sigmund. “Selected Papers on Hysteria.” The Major Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed.
William Benton. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1952. 25-119. Print

Jonte-Pace, Diane E. Speaking the Unspeakable: Religion, Misogyny, and the Uncanny
Mother in Freud’s Cultural Texts. Ewing: University of California Press, 2001.
Print.
Parker, Ian. "Rosalia H.: With Freud In A Prelude To Psychoanalysis." Psychodynamic Practice
13.4 (2007): 375-383. Academic Search Premier. Web.

Summers, Frank. "Psychoanalysis: Romantic, Not Wild." Psychoanalytic Psychology 28.1
(2011): 13-32. PsycARTICLES. Web.

Woodworth, R.S. “Some criticisms of the Freudian psychology.” Journal of Abnormal
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