At the Beginning There Was…– Re-Considering the Concepts of ‘Faith’ and ‘Trust’ as Analytic Objects

Ofrit Shapira-Berman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes a distinction between “faith” and “trust,” within psychoanalysis. It puts forth the idea that one’s faith might be thought of as an inborn quality that promotes the feeling that the future holds within it more possibilities than those already encountered and allows the individual to develop and move forward. On the other hand, trust is an acquired quality, shaped within the mother-infant dyad, and is experience-based. Both trust and faith play a significant role in a patient’s ability to use their analysis to better their lives, albeit each holds a different function, complementary to one another. The author suggests that “there is no such thing as a patient” (apart from the analyst’s faith). The analyst’s capacity to have faith in the patient’s possibilities holds, within it, the dialectic tension between oneness (faith) and twoness (trust), acting as an “alpha function of faith.”.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)506-536
Number of pages31
JournalContemporary Psychoanalysis
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology and the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society.


  • Faith
  • Winnicott
  • mother-infant dyad
  • object-relations
  • trust


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