Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • David M. MossIIIEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_537

Psychoanalysis is a school of psychology originated by the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Born out of struggle, it is a scientific approach to the investigation of conscious and unconscious processes, as well as a clinical discipline of artistic application and therapeutic scrutiny. Psychoanalysis is the sine qua non of modern psychology.

Philosophically, psychoanalysis is based on psychic determinism, a theory of human behavior rooted in a premise that certain causes predictably engender particular psychological effects. Prior to Freud, psychiatric studies theorized that organic conditions were the elementary basis of human behavior. Freud asserted that deep personality conflicts shaped the psyche, as did interpersonal and cultural influences. These dynamic forces became the psychic determinants of attitudes, opinions, and behavioral patterns – including religious practices and faith convictions. Psychoanalysis, by pointing to their roots, offers a mode of shifting...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AtlantaUSA