Religie als transitioneel fenomeen Het belang van D.W. Winnicott voor de godsdienstpsychologie | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



Winnicott’s particular psychoanalytic theory of culture leads to an appraisal of religion which is completely different from the traditional Freudian one. He does not view religion primarily in an instinctual context as infantile wish fulfilment. Rather, he interprets religion against the background of self-development and the life-lasting human need for creative interaction between the subject and the object world in the so-called transitional sphere, the sphere of culture. It is only by activities in this sphere that human beings can experience life as meaningful. This leads to a revaluation of notions like illusion, projection and imagination. After a discussion of successively Winnicott’s theory of culture, his view on religion and the reception of his work in the psychology of religion, it is concluded that his psychology seems to lay the foundation of a general ‘psychology of meaning’ rather than of a ‘psychology of religion’, although it is also being used fruitfully to understand the psychological dynamics of faith in God, religious rituals and the like.


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