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In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
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Abstract

This article contributes to the interpretation of the relationship between esotericism and psychology by analysing the theory known as “the family unconscious”. As a variation of the collective unconscious (or collective psyche), the concept of family unconscious was first elaborated by the Hungarian endocrinologist, neurologist, and psychiatrist Leopold Szondi. During the 1930s, Szondi developed his comprehensive theory and psychotherapeutic approach regarding “fate-analysis” within which the assumption of the family unconscious gained central significance. According to fate-analysis, ancestral experiences are preserved in genes and determine the life of descendants. Introduced by Bert Hellinger, the popular psychotherapeutic modality, “family constellation method” displays a variation of the psychological theory of the family unconscious. This paper argues that the approach utilised in Hellinger’s method retains characteristics of “classical” esotericism far more in its interpretation of the family unconscious than the fate-analysis of Szondi. By introducing a genetic interpretation, Szondi managed to “scientize” the family unconscious and put his system on mechanistic grounds.

In: Aries