Special Issue "Advances in the Dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Religion"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2023 | Viewed by 505

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. William B. Parsons
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Religion, School of Humanities, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Interests: religion and culture; religion and the social sciences; modern spirituality and mysticism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you will consider contributing to a Special Issue with Religions on advances in the dialogue between religion and psychoanalysis (understood in its broadest sense as starting with Freud and moving through any number of the multiple psychoanalytic theorists that changed theory up to the present day). Those advances can take many different forms: 1) advances in theory; 2) advances in the conversation between psychoanalysis and any religious tradition or new religious movement and their accouterments/content (e.g., ritual, scripture, myth, theology, the paranormal, religious experience, conversion, etc.); 3) advances in the relations between psychoanalysis and linked disciplines (e.g., sociology, anthropology, philosophy, queer theory, feminism, critical race studies, neurocognitive studies, psychohistory, political science, etc.); and 4) applications to contemporary social, cultural and religious phenomena.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editor (Email A) or to Religions’ editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editor for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

Prof. Dr. William B. Parsons
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • psychoanalysis
  • religion
  • dialogue, advances
  • applications

Published Papers (1 paper)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
Institutional Betrayal, Psychoanalytic Insights on the Anglican Church’s Response to Abuse
Religions 2022, 13(10), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13100892 - 22 Sep 2022
Viewed by 254
Abstract
Psychoanalysis can advance our understanding of responses from the hierarchy of mainstream religious denominations to disclosures of abuse by clergy. This paper takes analytic insights to discuss how and why the Anglican institutional church has responded so callously to disclosures of child sexual [...] Read more.
Psychoanalysis can advance our understanding of responses from the hierarchy of mainstream religious denominations to disclosures of abuse by clergy. This paper takes analytic insights to discuss how and why the Anglican institutional church has responded so callously to disclosures of child sexual abuse within the church. Inhumane responses have led to feelings of institutional betrayal in survivor groups. The subject is explored firstly in the context of organizational and group dynamics, and, secondly, by analysing defences that underly the interaction between the person who has been abused and the member of the church hierarchy who is hearing the disclosure. Defences and deceptions have been consciously and unconsciously used within the organization that have obstructed contact with reality, and so hindered it both in fulfilling its task in responding appropriately to what has taken place, and in adapting to changing circumstances. Churches have been active agents in re-traumatising individuals. Examples to illustrate are taken from hearings on the Anglican Church by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England, UK. The idea of organizational redemption is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Religion)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Institutional Betrayal, Psychoanalytic Insights on the Church’s Response to Abuse

The paper explores how psychoanalysis has advanced the potential for understanding the response of mainstream institutional churches to child abuse over the last twenty years. Psychoanalytic thinking offers significant insight into the various reactions, and, subsequent actions or non-actions by members of the church hierarchy to disclosures by victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and members of religious orders. The subject is explored in the context of the organization, and, in the context of the individual’s experience of disclosing to the church hierarchy. 

Drawing on psychoanalytic theories of some of the unconscious aspects and emotional processes of organizational life, it becomes clear that the institutional church has developed defences that have obstructed contact with reality, and so hindered the organization both in fulfilling its task in responding appropriately to what has taken place, and, in adapting to changing circumstances. Resistance, denial and projective processes have contributed to experiences of institutional betrayal for survivors of clergy and religious abuse and their supporters. Institutional betrayal involves discussing institutional narcissism. Limits and accountability are anathema in a narcissistic structure where there is a fantasy of omnipotence as found in the church hierarchy. The reality of institutional betrayal is explicit and implicit, where institutions are active agents in re-traumatising some of those who are invited to depend on it; this is analysed alongside the idea of the institution in the mind as a safe and trustworthy community. Analyses of recent cases in the public domain are used to highlight and demonstrate the power of displacement and ‘othering’. Formal procedures and systems, and informal attitudes serve as defences, and so act as a buffer between a person and their role and the emotional realities of what has taken place. There is a nexus of power and control that contributes to the thoughtless, inept and abusive responses that can constitute institutional betrayal.

The effects of trauma, analyses of paedophilia, and the psychodynamics between the perpetrator of abuse and the victim have been studied extensively by analysts. Advances in analytic thinking on soul murder leading to dehumanisation and scapegoating of the victim, and the solipsism of the perpetrator, provide insight about documented situations where members of the church hierarchy have met with survivors of clergy abuse and responded inappropriately.

In the final section of the paper ideas on dealing with such institutional dilemmas are discussed. The group of survivors of clergy and religious abuse must be perceived and treated as an important indication of a generic problem in the institution. The meaning of institutional betrayal needs to be taken up as an institutional issue, resulting from a complex network of projective processes. Treated as a group or organizational process, the underlying problem, as well as the individual survivor’s distress is addressed.

Back to TopTop