Prolegomena to a Soul-therapy

  1. Lemma
  2. Προλεγόμενα σέ μία θεραπεία τῆς ψυχῆς
  3. Greek, Modern (1453-)
  4. Delli, Eudoxie
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Psychology-Psychoanalysis - Key thinkers - Complementarity - Orthodox Anthropology - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Premodern _modern_ postmodern
  6. 29-1-2017
  7. Kυριαζής, Δημήτρης [Author]. Prolegomena to a Soul-therapy
  8. Theology and Psychiatry in Dialogue. Conference Proceedings - Athens: Apostoliki Diakonia, 1999.
  9. Holy Scripture - Real - Imaginary - Symbolic (J. Lacan) - Freud - Klein, Melanie - paternal function - concepts of Soul therapy - inner man - Winnicott, Donald Woods
    1. <p style="text-align: justify;">Κυριαζῆς, Δ. (1999). Προλεγόμενα σέ μία θεραπεία τῆς ψυχῆς. Ιn Ά. Αύγουστίδης, Β. Θερμός, Δ. Κυριαζῆς (Eds.), <em>Θεολογία καἰ Ψυχιατρική σέ διάλογο. Πρακτικά Ἡμερίδας</em> (pp. 23-95). Άθήνα: Άποστολική Διακονία.</p>
    1. By this paper Dimitris Kyriazis constitutes an effort to develop a fertile dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Orthodox Christian theology, fields which, while belonging to different realms, intersect at certain crucial points that concern the psychic reality of the human being. On the one hand, he shows the common ground between them, on the basis of specific references from the Holy Scripture and psychoanalytic theory. One the other hand, he draws the boundaries between the field of theology and psychoanalysis.

      According to the author – who follows Lacan’s tripartite schema of the psyche (Real/Imaginary/Symbolic)- Psychoanalysis focuses its interest on understanding the individual Imaginary realm; the interest of theology is focused on understanding the Symbolic realm and in particular shedding light upon the divine persons and how this affects the shaping of an anthropological person – centred model. Psychoanalysis focuses its attention on studying the psychology of human sexuality, love relations and destructive aggressiveness, while theology focuses its attention on agape, freedom and the communion of the divine Persons as well as the community of human persons in an ecclesiastic spirit.

      Kyriazis, inspired by psychoanalytic theory and practice, interprets two texts from the Bible, the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall from the Old Testament and the parable of the Prodigal Son from the New Testament. He provides a comparative, psychoanalytic approach of these two stories in relation to the concept of ‘’paternal function’’. The myths of Oedipus and Narcissus are mentioned, elements from Homer’s Odyssey are discussed, and thoughts are set out regarding the features of the ‘’religious objects’’ as distinct from the objects of the unconscious fantasy belonging to the Imaginary realm. The author aims to demarcate the areas of psychoanalytic thought and religious life and puts forward that a large part of the vital experience of religious life moves in the area of ‘’potential space’’ and of ‘’transitional phenomena’’ in the sense used by Winnicot. On the question of the ‘’healing of the soul’’, Kyriazis proposes a synthetic approach, in which psychoanalysis and spiritual life, especially as crystallised in the Orthodox Christian tradition, can function in a complementary way, under certain conditions, mainly related to the religious faith of the analyst. Finally, he treats topics such as psychoanalysis and confession, the psychoanalytic voyage etc.

      Apart from the similarities, Kyriazis illuminates the substantial differences that determine these paths to self-knowledge, differences which refer to the corollary anthropological conceptions (God-human-centred in Christian Theology, human centred in Psychoanalysis), the method, the practice, the technique and goals of the psychoanalytic treatment, and those of salvation. The author estimates that both psychoanalytic therapy and theology have, to some extent, the same tasks saving the human psyche from its internal ‘’bad objects’’.

      It is suggested, as well, that it is not psychoanalysis as a science and theology that are at loggerheads, but some therapists or some people in the Church who involuntarily, often from ignorance, make their beliefs an ideology and argue their views in an absolute and fanatic way within the context of their own defensive world.

      Following the author, Psychoanalysis can offer a cohesive proposal, a proper model for a deeper understanding of the human psyche, while Orthodox Theology offers a proposal regarding the divine persons of the Holy Trinity as a proposal to open up the neurotic system of the Subject, ‘’to the gifts of the spirit’’, in the realm of the Symbolic, a fact which preserves ontologically the possibility of liberating the Subject from the alienation provoked by the defensive Ego structures.

      In the end of the article, the author makes proposals for further research and study. He suggests that the comparative study of anthropological models including patristic theology, psychoanalysis, ancient Greek literature and modern as well as metamodern cultural archetypes, might be useful for further, more in depth-study of the human psyche and the treatment process.