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Tobie Nathan

Pagan Psychoanalysis

When an Algerian Kabyle sheikh makes a talisman containing a mixture of holy salt, some pottery fragments and a piece of paper on which he has written a surah from the Koran, stitches the whole in a little bag and then gives it to a patient as his only response to a request for treatment, he has not entered into a magical process, but a logical, non discursive one, which manifests itself through objects, chants or animal sacrifices.
An understanding of this type of logic, which is characteristic of traditional societies, is indispensable for members of the medical profession who are called upon to treat the increasing number of migrant patients who have conserved the coherence of their psychiatric system in the very structure of their symptoms.


"Tobie Nathan has become the master of ethno-psychiatry in France." Le Monde
"This book is one of the first to lay the foundations of ethno-psychiatry from the dual point of view of psychiatric science and patients'religious beliefs." Les Inrockuptibles


Tobie Nathan teaches clinical and pathological psychology at the University of Paris VIII, where he also heads the Centre Georges Devereux, which specialises in psychological assistance to migrant families. He is the author of L'Influence qui Guérit, Psychothérapies, La Guérison Yoruba (with Lucien Hounkpatin), Soigner (with Catherine Lewertowski) and 613, all published by Editions Odile Jacob.