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Psychoanalysis and the Question of Self: A Dialogue with Spiritual Traditions

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From a psychoanalytic point of view it is well established that an early development of a sense of self is crucial to a person's healthy development. At the same time, the psychoanalytic process can to a large extent be described as a deconstruction of narcissistic and illusionary apprehensions of oneself. With this as a background, I want to discuss the notion of self within a psychoanalytic perspective in relationship to the meaning of self and no-self within spiritual traditions. The most striking similarity between psychoanalytical and spiritual practice is identified as the (controlling) ego's surrender or letting go. The article ends with an attempt to characterize the self that is disclosed in the liberating experience of letting go.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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