The author suggests a new reading of the work of L.S. Vygotsky “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by W. Shakespeare”. Analyzing this work, and also the text of a little known publication “The Lines of Mourning”, the author suggests that Vygotsky was profoundly religious. “The Tragedy of Hamlet” was for Vygotsky a tragedy of loneliness and its overcoming by prayer. The content of the psy-chotherapeutic work is discussed as a process of helping a person in pain to survive and overcome said pain. The main cognitive interest of psychotherapy is to understand how human beings overcome the pain. This is the main similarity between psychotherapy and religion, psychotherapy and prayer. The question of attitude towards pain is the core question of philosophy and psychotherapy. The article discloses the essence of synergeion psychotherapy, which is prayer and silence.

General Information

Keywords: psychology of art, L.S. Vygotsky, psychotherapy, experience, suffering, pray

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Vasilyuk F.E. Prayer-Silence-Psychotherapy. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2005. Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 52–56. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Vygotsky L.S. Traurnye stroki (Den’ 9 ava) // Novyi put’. 1916. № 27.
  2. Vygotsky L.S. Psihologiya iskusstva. M., 1987. | The Psychology of Art.        
  3. Yaroshevskii M.G. L.S. Vygotskii kak issledovatel’ problem   psihologii   iskusstva   //   Vygotskii L.S. Psihologiya iskusstva. M., 1987. S. 292-323.

Information About the Authors

Fedor E. Vasilyuk, Doctor of Psychology, professor, Professor of the Chair of Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Head of the Laboratory of Scientific Foundatuions of Psychotherapy, the Psychological Institute of the Russain Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia



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