Winnicott’s Infant-caregiver Dynamic as a Bridge between Pentecostalism and Sufism

This paper attempts to demonstrate how the Winnicottian concept of transitional progression might serve to explain similarities between Pentecostalism and Sufism by analogy of the infant- caregiver dynamic. Therefore, it is necessary to explain how maternal attunement to the infant’s biological needs support the infant’s development of a moral sense of awareness. The concept of the caregiver is a significant factor that convenes transitional progression by the practice of interplay. Hence, this method of transitional progression, according to the caregiver’s presence, is analogous to the practice of Pentecostalism and Sufism. Both denominations promote the internal regulation of ethical orientation by adhering to a care-based dynamic that serves to develop the moral compass. Wherein Pentecostal and Sufi spirituality encourage an internal effort to regulate moral attitude according to the desire to unify the heart to the presence of the Pentecostal sense of the Spirit, or the Sufi sense of the Beloved. In this way, ethical orientation is achieved by priming emotion in order to interpret what is right from wrong, transcending conscious efforts of logic and reason.

Preston Evangelou

Ph.D. Candidate, King’s College

Preston Evangelou is a doctoral candidate at King's College, whose research examines how the Winnicottian theory of transitional progression might be analogous to Johannine theology of spiritual development.