The Function of Religion in the Context of Re-Experiencing Trauma: Analyzing a Case Study with the Concepts of Transformational and Transitional Object

  • Hanneke Schaap-JonkerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges book series (PSLRSC)


In this contribution, the functions of lived religion in the context of trauma will be examined from the perspective of psychology of religion by means of a case study. The case of Rachel, a twenty-year-old Dutch woman with a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be discussed and analyzed with the concepts of transformational object (Bollas) and transitional object (Winnicott). These concepts from object relations theory highlight supportive and transformative functions of religious faith. When Rachel discusses her suffering with her Christian therapist, she explicitly connects her intrusive flashbacks with Christian faith. Hence, her case gives insight into the ways in which religious faith is used and lived out, and clarifies the psychological dynamics of lived religion in the context of trauma.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research and Innovation in Christian Mental Health CareAmersfoortThe Netherlands

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