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June 2022

Affect, religion, and unconscious processes

Author(s): Hood, R. W.

Journal/Book: J Personality. 1999; 67: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 1015-1046.

Abstract: After a brief review of the central and organizing role of affect in both personality and religion, the bridge between psychoanalytic and contemporary cognitive perspectives of the unconscious is investigated, with a special focus on an affectively based experiential component as outlined in Epstein's (1973, 1993, 1994) Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory (CEST) model. Four basic needs postulated by CEST are applied to religious experience: the need to manage pleasure and pain, the need for a coherent conceptual system, the need for self-esteem, and the need for relatedness. The last of these four needs is explored in detail from an object relations perspective that expands Freud's religion-as-illusion concept. It is maintained that an object relations approach contributes much to an understanding of a process-oriented spirituality, though it cannot appropriately speak to religious truth claims.

Note: Review Hill PC, Grove City Coll, Dept Psychol, 100 Campus Dr, Grove City,PA 16127 USA


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