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‘I Needed to Clarify Things.’ Pope Francis on When He Used to See a Therapist

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In a new book due to be published next week, Pope Francis has revealed that he consulted with a psychoanalyst once a week for six months in the 1970s to help him “clarify things.”

The 432-page book, titled Pope Francis: Politics and Society, is based on interviews between the Pontiff and French sociologist Dominique Wolton. The Pope told Wolton that seeing a therapist “helped [him] a lot” and that he now “felt free.”

“I’m in a cage at the Vatican, but not spiritually. Nothing frightens me,” he said in excerpts reported by The Guardian.

When Pope Francis was seeing a psychoanalyst, Argentina, his homeland, was ruled by a military dictatorship. He was head of the South American country’s Jesuit order at the time.

Along with revelations about his former therapist, the first Latin American pope spoke about many subjects with Wolton for the book, including politics, globalization, divorce and pedophile priests. He also discussed former girlfriends and childhood sweethearts. “I thank God for having known these true women in my life,” he said in excerpts reported by America Magazine.

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com