Faith, Theology and Psychoanalysis: The Life and Thought of Harry S. Guntrip

By Trevor M. Dobbs

An exploration of psychoanalysis and religion, and how belief influenced the psychoanalyst and Congregationalist minister Harry Guntrip.

ISBN: 9780227173305


In the dialogue between psychoanalysis and religion, the focus has most often been on the role of psychoanalytic elements in religious thinking and practice. The converse side of the relationship – the degree to which religious thought has influenced the development of psychoanalytic theory and practice – has in comparison been largely neglected. Faith, Theology and Psychoanalysis redresses the balance, bringing the latter perspective into dramatic focus through its careful examination of the thought and teaching of psychoanalyst and Congregational minister Harry S. Guntrip.

Guntrip was perhaps best known for his affiliation with Ronald Fairbairn and Donald Winnicott, two famous practitioners of what is known as the British Independent tradition of psychoanalysis. This book traces the various influences on the development of his clinical and theological thinking in context of the historical tension between religion and psychoanalysis. The central feature of Guntrip’s development is explored as a series of polarities, both theoretical and personal, conflicts with which he wrestled theologically, psychologically, and interpersonally on the professional level and in his own personal psychoanalyses.

Through this analysis, Dobbs shows how the dialogue between psychoanalysis and religion is much more of a two-way conversation than is commonly realised. Faith, Theology and Psychoanalysis is a valuable contribution to the study of the relationship between the theological and psychological disciplines.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Trevor M. Dobbs PhD is Core Faculty in the Marriage and Family Therapy Department at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. He is also Faculty and a Supervising and Training Psychoanalyst at the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, Tustin and Pasadena, California.


Foreword by David Goodacre

Part One: The Nature of Theology and Philosophy in Relation to Psychoanalysis
1. The Philosophy and Theology of Psychoanalysis
2. The Psychoanalysis of Theology and Philosophy

Part Two: Historical Concepts of Guntrip’s Psychology and Theology
3. History of the British Independent Tradition in England
4. The Psychology and Theology of John Macmurray
5. Fairbairn’s Theological Roots and Impact on Guntrip
6. The Influence of D.W. Winnicott on Harry Guntrip
7. Guntrip’s Relationship with Fairbairn and Winnicott

Part Three: Guntrip’s Theology as Internal Object to his Psychoanalytic Psychology
8. Guntrip’s Psychoanalytic Psychology
9. Paradox: The Integration of Polarities

Glossary of Technical Terms


Endorsements and Reviews

Professor Dobbs’ detailed reconstruction is an important and valuable contribution – one that enriches our understanding of psychoanalysis itself and that interested readers would be well-advised to ponder.
W.W. Meissner, Boston College