Pope Francis reveals he had weekly sessions with psychoanalyst

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Pope Francis has revealed he sought the help of a psychoanalyst for six months when he was younger.

In a soon-to-be-published book, he says that he paid weekly visits to the analyst in his native Argentina to “clarify some things”.

It is not specified what the future pontiff wanted to explore in the sessions, which took place when he was 42 and the head of Argentina’s Jesuit order.

“At a certain point, I felt the need to consult an analyst. For six months, I went to her house once a week to clarify a few things,” he said.

The revelation came in a dozen conversations Francis had with French sociologist Dominique Wolton, who used them to write ‘Pope Francis: Politics and Society’.

Francis was also quoted as saying: “One day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue.”

He added: “She was a good person. For six months she helped me a lot.”

In the conversations with the author, Francis speaks highly of the positive influence women have had on his life.

“Those whom I have known helped me a lot when I needed to consult with them,” Francis is quoted as saying.

The 80-year-old pope also speaks of his state of mind now.

“I feel free. Sure, I’m in a cage here at the Vatican, but not spiritually. Nothing makes me afraid.”

What bothers him, he said, are people with straitjacket points of view.

He singled out “rigid priests who are afraid to communicate. It’s a form of fundamentalism. Whenever I run into a rigid person, especially if young, I tell myself that he’s sick”.

But Francis concludes that “in reality, they are persons looking for security”.

In past remarks, the pope has indicated he struggled with how to use authority in his first roles of leadership as a Jesuit.

The Catholic Church used to project a sense of mistrust regarding psychoanalysis but updated Vatican guidelines for use in training future priests describe psychologists as valuable in assessing the psychological health of candidates.

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