Architectural And Psychoanalytic Thoughts On Prayer

Writings and Lectures Lectures

Esther Sperber presented at the Psychology and the Other Conference at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA

“It is one of the most basic paradoxes of psychoanalysis that in order for a person – the patient – to discover and experience him/her self, they engage in a relationship with another person – the therapist. We become our own selves within a relational matrix of mothering, mirroring and mentalizing Others.

“Over the last years I designed a number of synagogues and I am fascinated by the physical and spatial design as well and the personal, phenomenological experience of communal prayer.

“I see communal prayer as similar to the magical moments in a psychoanalytic treatment that soften and dissolve the borders of self and other, past and present, verbal and embodied, creating a new shared intersubjective experience. Similarly, transcendent moments of communal prayer occur when the intimate, intrapsychic spiritual experience of accessing longings, vulnerability and gratitude are dialectically co-exist within the intersubjective experience of others and the shared rhythm of ritual.”

Psychology and the Other Conference
Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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