Religion and the adolescent - A psychodynamic perspective
Journal/Book: Psychoanal Psychol. 1999; 16: 10 Industrial Ave, Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262, USA. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc Inc. 58-75.
Abstract: The adolescent phase of emotional and cognitive development involves attempts, with varying degrees of failure or success, to disengage from primal parental objects and to solidify a sense of identity in terms of both self-image and sexuality. Some of the functions of formal, institutionalized religion are not only to give body to this emergent process by the creation of surrogate parental figures, be they in fantasy or reality, tangible or transcendent, but also to facilitate the completion in adulthood of this variant of a separation-individuation process. Religion also allows for control and aim-inhibited gratification of instinctual drives. The initiation, vicissitudes, and outcome of the theistic-atheistic conflict in adolescence is described, and case vignettes exemplify this process. Peter Bios's (1984) concept of the incomplete resolution of the negative oedipal conflict in adolescence and its role in neurosogenesis is used as an explanatory hypothesis.
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