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Psychodynamic theory

Psychodynamic theory. A dynamic model of the self which concentrates in particular on emotions and drives. This is perhaps the most widely used theory in the psychological study of religion.

Good examples of psychodynamic theory applied to religious phenomena are provided by the study of witchcraft (the witch providing an outlet for repressed emotions), the study of rituals of rebellion (providing cathartic release), and those studies which hold that religious institutions serve to compensate for social or other deprivations. Victor Turner's The Forest of Symbols (1967) contains good illustrations of modified psychodynamic theorizing.

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