Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Dan MillsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9293

Sigmund Freud’s (1856–1939) formulation of the Id, Ego, and Super-Ego marks one of the major benchmarks in the development of modern psychology and psychiatry. Freud’s tripartite psychic apparatus provided a psychiatric vocabulary that replaced the overused and misused ambiguous term, “unconscious.” Jacques Lacan (1901–1981), famous for his “return to Freud,” also derived a tripartite model of subjectivity: the Symbolic, the Imaginary, and the Real. Lacan famously argued that “the unconscious is structured like a language,” and his Symbolic, Imaginary, and Real describe human psychology in terms of linguistic individuation and indoctrination into the realm of language (1978, p. 149). Both Freud’s and Lacan’s tripartite models share many similarities with one another, and together they share similarities with the Christian Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Freud defines the Id as the instinctual and somewhat uncontrollable drives inherent in every person. The Ego seeks...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Athens Technical CollegeAthensUSA