Chapter 25. Gods of the Horizon: The Therapist's and the Patient's Religious Representations and the Inevitability of Countertransference

  1. Peter J. Verhagen Psychiatrist Theologian2,
  2. Herman M. Van Praag Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry3,
  3. Juan J. López-Ibor Jr Professor of Psychiatry4,
  4. John L Cox Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry5 and
  5. Driss Moussaoui Professor of Psychiatry6
  1. Moshe Halevi Spero Professor Social Work Psychoanalysis

Published Online: 13 NOV 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470682203.ch25

Religion and Psychiatry: Beyond Boundaries

Religion and Psychiatry: Beyond Boundaries

How to Cite

Spero, M. H. (2010) Gods of the Horizon: The Therapist's and the Patient's Religious Representations and the Inevitability of Countertransference, in Religion and Psychiatry: Beyond Boundaries (eds P. J. Verhagen, H. M. Van Praag, J. J. López-Ibor, J. L. Cox and D. Moussaoui), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470682203.ch25

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Meerkanten GGZ, Harderwijk, The Netherlands

  2. 3

    University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

  3. 4

    Complutense University, Madrid, Spain

  4. 5

    University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

  5. 6

    Ibn Rushd University, Casablanca, Morocco

Author Information

  1. Israel

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2009
  2. Published Print: 8 JAN 2010

Book Series:

  1. World Psychiatric Association Evidence and Experience in Psychiatry Series

Book Series Editors:

  1. Helen Herrman

Series Editor Information

  1. WPA Secretary for Publications, University of Melbourne, Australia

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470694718

Online ISBN: 9780470682203



  • interdisciplinary issues - psychotherapy, pastoral care and meaning;
  • Gods of the Horizon - therapist's and patient's religious representations and countertransference;
  • epistemological questions and assumptions regarding image of god;
  • three clinical implications - of the psychological God;
  • therapist's and patient's representational apperceptions of God - ‘God’ as psychologically experienced;
  • concept or representation of God internalized - part and parcel of the human mind;
  • idiosyncratic countertransference - experiences of analytic partners;
  • clearly demarcated paternally- or maternally-oriented God representations;
  • countertransference pitfalls and contributions due to sensitivity to religious representations;
  • ‘black hole’ - existing with its own paradoxical properties


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Epistemological Questions and Assumptions Regarding the Image of God

  • Three Clinical Implications of the Psychological God

  • The Inevitability of Countertransference in the Context of Religious Representational Material and its Object

  • The Event Horizon, the Analytic Frame and the Creation of the Representational God

  • Clinical Illustrations of the Countertransference Pitfalls and Contributions Due to Sensitivity to Religious Representations

  • The Emergence of Latent Religious Representations in the Horizon between Enactment and Countertransference: The Case of ‘Karen’

  • An Exegesis within Judaic Sources Regarding the Event Horizon and the Representation of God

  • References