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Psychoanalysis and Spiritual Psychology - Rudolf SteinerPsychoanalysis and Spiritual Psychology

5 lectures by Rudolf Steiner
Introduction by Robert J. Sardello

In Psychoanalysis and Spiritual Psychology, Rudolf Steiner offers an expanded approach to the study of psychology and the practice of psychoanalysis, which takes into account the human being's outgrowth from a spiritual and physical past as well as its membering into a broader spiritual background in the present. Conventional psychology and psychoanalytic practice invariably start from a humanistic point of departure and assume all human activities and problems to have their roots and their resolution in terms of only what is relevant between the point of birth (or earliest cognitive activity) and death (the apparent end of cognitive activity). If the human being as a totality has a biography that precedes birth and goes beyond death, then such conventional approaches are destined to find many effects of prior causes and then to assign these as primary causes for irrational or obsessive behaviour.

Steiner's approach involves understanding of the subconscious as an actual realm in which the person is immersed, both mentally and physically, and not just as an unseen portion of the mind. Apart from various influences which play into the human consciousness from these realms and influence behaviour, even the physical body and its organs exist as expressions of an overall psycho-spiritual 'gestalt'. Their functions individually and collectively are also implicated in states of psychological imbalance. Steiner gives several specific examples of specific psychological conditions and their associated organic dysfunction. He suggests therapeutic approaches to remedy these organic imbalances rather than trying to get the patient to deal with the mental significances that are simply the resulting disturbance, or adjusting the patient's psychological state through drugs.

Psychoanalysis and Spiritual Psychology includes only 5 of Steiner's lectures on the subject of spiritual psychology and therefore just covers some of the basics and general approaches. For those who are interested in pursuing more, his other lectures and written work on medicine and the healing arts should be studied, as the health and condition of the soul state is always addressed in his medical studies. Also within the framework of psychological health studies, Steiner's treatment of the principles of education are also essential reading as his methods address the development of the child mentally, emotionally and physically with a view to realizing individual qualities, with harmony and a sense of fulfilment rather than just being trained into an academically skilled and socially productive being.

Anthroposophic Press
5 lectures, Dornach & Munich, 25 Feb 1912 - 2 July 1921
Trans. M. Laird-Brown, rev. S. H. Seiler
143pp; hardback
ISBN: 088010351-5

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