Transcending the Superego: A Heuristic Journey Exploring the Relationship Between the Superego and Spirituality

Carden, Merilyn
Woodard, Wiremu
Item type
Degree name
Master of Psychotherapy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

A cruel superego can be destructive to the way we feel about ourselves, to the way we perceive and relate to others and to how we interact with the world. Spirituality can provide a sense of reprieve from these severe elements of ourselves through interconnection with others, with the world, with mystery and the divine. How these two components of our existence – our harsh internal realities and spirituality – interact and influence one another, the trauma that contributes to their formation and development, and how we transcend the limitations of our attacking internal world to experience something different, is what was explored in this research. Having been haunted by a harsh superego throughout my life, while simultaneously and contrastingly having a dynamic relationship with spirituality, brought me to the exploration of these two components within myself. This paper phenomenologically explores how I experience the relationship between the superego and spirituality. Embarking on a heuristic journey of self-discovery was an invigorating and perilous quest, taking me to barren and desolate spaces as well as rich, embodied and lively contemplations in my search for meaning. The dance between the superego’s harsh, demanding and perfectionistic pressures contrasting with spiritualities’ gentler, spacious and poetic phenomena revealed experiences of the transcendent and immanent, of the embodied feminine, of the ordinary, of the mystical, of rhythm, of my okay-ness. Please join me in this discovery of awakening to love.

Transcend , Superego , Spirituality , Trauma
Publisher's version
Rights statement