venerdì 15 settembre 2017

Pope Francis in analysis

Marta Tibaldi
Pope Francis in analysis

Aged forty-four, Pope Francis had an analytical experience of six mothers with a psychoanalyst - probably Freudian - of Jewish religion. Bergoglio tell us himself, announcing his book Politique et Société - twelve dialogues with the sociologist Dominique Walton - to be published in France by L'Observatoire.


The press has given ample prominence to the news, because the words of Bergoglio have officially cleared the way, even for the Catholics religious, to resort to psychoanalysis - an umbrella term improperly used to refer to depth psychology. After years of suspicion and condemnation, especially with regard to Freudian psychoanalysis, accused of pansexualism and materialism, today depth psychology is recognized as a positive tool serving the psychic well-being, even that of Catholic religious.

The journalist France Giansoldati in the article "Church and Psychoanalysis. The admission of Pope Bergoglio frees priests and nuns", (Il Messaggero, Sept. 2, 2017) in commenting the words of Pope Francis, reports the invitation of the Jesuit priest of Catholic Civilization Giandomenico Mucci to distinguish between the various approaches present under the generic appellation of psychoanalysis: "Psychoanalysis is not a compass body of doctrine. Instead, it contains multiple approaches, distinct on the basis of the different categorization of the subconscious." (ivi, p. 14) This claim allows the journalist to point out, in particular, some differences between Freudian psychoanalysis and the Jungian analytical psychology, recognizing the latter "a further and more development [compared to the Freudian theory], closer to a christian vision, which avoids neglecting the qualities that give human beings their truest value, the tendency to the good, to beauty, the intellect, freedom, religion." (ibidem).

Of course, analytical psychology is much more than that. Think, for example, of the complexity of the theme of truth and evil: a decisively divergent way in confrontation with the Catholic approach (see C.G. Jung, The Red Book: Liber Novus, 2009). Precisely because of the characteristics and richness of the Jungian thought, Jungian analysts who have had or have in session Catholic religious know well how this type of analysis requires them a great deal of theoretical balance, a clear awareness of the boundaries and limits of mutual areas of competence, humility and complex thought.

Don Simone Bruno, a priest, a psychologist and the editorial director of the San Paolo group expresses a view, which can be subscribed, about the different characteristics and relationship that binds psychology and depth psychology, on the one hand, and the religious dimension, on the other. Don Bruno recalls how the psychoanalyst cited by the Pope, on her deathbed referred to Bergoglio for a comparison between faith and the spiritual dimension, acknowledging the Holy Father a specific competence in this regard: "This episode of mutual recognition helps to clarify the relationships and positions between the two dimensions, which in my view, are absolutely not conflicting with each other. First of all, because if a person experiences the desire do deepen the word of God or the meaning of his faith and his religious experience, they have the opportunity to turn to a spiritual father who can help shed a light on the doubts crossing their soul. However, it is also true that if they note some signs of psychological distress or they have concerns and anxieties, it is important that they refer to a specialist who can help them to cast a light on what is happening to them at that time." (Orsola Vetri, "Il papa è andato in analisi e non c'è nulla di strano" - Famiglia Cristiana, Sept, 1, 2017)


Given the delicate balance that characterizes the analytical relationship with the Catholic religious, it is important that the choice of the professionals is addressed carefully. The International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) is the association founded in 1955, which collects Jungian psychologists in the world. IAAP recognizes 58 groups and societies and more than 3000 analysts trained according to international standards (see T.B. Kirsch, The Jungians: A Comparative Historical Perspective, 2000; it. tr. Gli Junghiani, eds. F. Castellana-S. Presciuttini, Il Fattore Umano, Roma 2017). In addition, the current development of an intercultural and transcultural Jungian analytical psychology guarantees, in turn, a cultural sensibility founded, on the one hand, on the recognition of the common human belonging, and on the other, on cultural differences, towards the development of a conscious and creative project of individual life, in constant dialogue with all forms of alterity and with the world (see C. Crowther-J. Wiener, From Tradition to Innovation. Jungian Analysts Working in Different Cultural Settings, Spring Journal, New Orleans 2015; M. Tibaldi-T.Chan-M.Chiu-M.Lee-B.Tam-E.T. Wong, Transcultural identities. Jungians in Hong Kong, Artemide, Roma 2016).

Copyright 2017

Marta Tibaldi, Profilo professionale e pubblicazioni

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