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Where God is Between Us: Religious Experience, Surrender, and the Third in Clinical Perspective with Lisa Cataldo, PhD

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Where God is Between Us: Religious Experience, Surrender, and the Third in Clinical Perspective with Lisa Cataldo, PhD

Saturday, October 21, 2023 9:00am to 11:30am
Via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 continuing education credits.  Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This presentation also meets the requirements of WAC 246-809-620 (definition of recognized categories of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists and social workers).

In this Alliance Master Class, Lisa Cataldo, PhD, will lead participants in a discussion of her 2019 essay, “Where God is Between Us: Religious Experience, Surrender, and the Third in Clinical Perspective”.  Dr. Cataldo will elaborate upon her thinking since publication, facilitate discussion, and answer questions.  All participants will receive a copy of the essay upon registration.  In order to facilitate an intimate, stimulating discussion, the group will be limited to 10 participants who can directly engage with the author.

Cataldo, L. (2019).  Where God is between us: Religious experience, surrender, and the third in clinical perspective.  Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16: 113-133.

When patients bring up material of a religious or spiritual nature, many analysts find themselves at a loss.  There is a tendency in such moments either to reduce the patient’s experience to the most comfortable theoretical denominator or to accept such experiences uncritically.  In this paper, the author places “religion” and religious experience in the relational context of formative early experience and argues that relational history is an important contributor to the capacity to have authentic and expansive religious experience.  Drawing upon clinical examples and relational psychoanalytic concepts of surrender and the Third, the author suggests ways in which the analyst might interact with the patient’s religious and spiritual experiences by understanding them in terms of surrender and the opening to or foreclosure of thirdness.

LISA CATALDO, PhD, MDiv is Associate Professor of Mental Health Counseling and Spiritual Integration at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion.  Her research and writing focus on the intersection of relational psychoanalysis, faith, and spiritual experience, particularly around issues of trauma and intersubjectivity.  Her most recent work addresses the concept of moral injury in members of Catholic institutions in relation to the legacy of clergy sexual abuse.  She is a recipient of the NIP Educators Award and the Stephen A. Mitchell Author’s Award for writing in psychoanalysis.  She is a faculty member and supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies and the Stephen Mitchell Relational Studies Center.  She maintains a small private practice in New York.



Recent Publications:

Suggested supplemental reading:

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Understand working definitions of "religious need," "religion," and "spirituality."

  • Be able to articulate the underpinnings of faith or belief in early relational experience

  • Be able to think about patients' religious or spiritual experience in terms of its allowance or foreclosure of surrender and thirdness

Participants: This event is designed for graduate level students in mental health and all mental health professionals from introductory to advanced levels.  The presentation is geared for clinicians who wish to advance their knowledge and expand their skill base in psychodynamic clinical work.

Refund Policy: Refunds less a $35 handling fee will be given up until three weeks before the presentation. 

This program, when participated in its entirety, is available for 2.5 continuing education credits.  Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.  Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles for Psychologists.  Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program.  If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Christine Hutchison at  There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.  Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program's content.

Contact Person: 
Christine Hutchison, PhD
Contact Email:
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