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A Neglected Object in Psychology: the Relationship to the Divinity

Keywords: Divine object , parental representation , God representation , self representation , psychodynamic processes , personal God , wish fulfillment , defensive use of God

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God is a significant object for many people. Some individuals give credence to God as an existing transcendent reality; other people oscillate between belief and unbelief at different moments of their lives while some atheists adamantly deny God's existence. Regardless of their stance, all three groups must have a certain mental conception or representation of the divinity to be able to believe in it, wrestle with it, or deny it. Such representation has significant antecedents in both parental representations (Freud, 1910; Rizzuto, 1979) and other affectively significant early objects and obtains from them prevailing emotional characteristics, which inevitably contribute to the dynamic organization of the relational or rejecting experiences the subject has with his/her personally conceived divinity.In this paper I offer a clinical example from a completed analysis to illustrate the patient's libidinal and defensive and, at times, organizing use of the divinity during the course of his treatment.


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