Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 638–648 | Cite as

Psychoanalysis, Religion and Enculturation: Reflections Through the Life of Mother Teresa

Psychological Exploration


This paper explores the question of whether psychoanalysis can help those who adhere to a worldview that is non-psychoanalytic or even anti-psychoanalytic. It answers this question by comparing the psychoanalytic understanding of suffering with that of the Catholic faith, through the latter’s idea of the ‘dark night of the soul’. The life of Mother Teresa is taken as an illustration of the dark night and how it may be responded to by the faithful. Similarities and differences between the two approaches are pointed out. Finally, it is suggested that psychoanalytic perspectives may enrich the inner lives of those living by a religious worldview, without necessarily diluting that worldview. Further, religious counsellors too may benefit from an understanding of psychoanalytic perspectives.


Psychoanalysis Mother Teresa Dark night of the soul Catholic spirituality Psychology and religion Psychotherapy and religion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New DelhiIndia

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