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Psychiatry and Spirituality

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I recently talked to a priest who is also licensed to perform therapy, so someone like that could easily bring both perspectives into the relationship. I think the divisions we make are somewhat arbitrary. Changing your diet can improve your mood, and having a daily spiritual practice can help one concentrate. Spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical are all interrelated.

I think that at least in the Catholic church there are certain tests to determine if demonic possession is occurring. This is to say that I doubt it is the case that hearing voices or having delusions is identical to demonic possession.

The scientific question is what is the evidence for demonic possession? What predictions can we make, assuming this is what is happening, and do these predictions come to pass? More importantly, does treating a person who is suffering as a subject of demonic possession cause us to take different actions that lead to better outcomes than not doing so?

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Hi lagrima,

Im confused :confused:

So if I'm understaning this correctly (and to be fair its entirely possibly I arent :)), Spirituality can/does work at healing voices and hallucinations ?

Then why instead of pumping me full of frigging medications (that mostly only work to a certain degree - if Im lucky) my p/doc(s) over the years aint just told me to seek out a spiritualist and get therapy from them ?

Coz I gotta say that after more than enough years of various medications, (not forgeting ofcourse the wonderful side effects of said medications) Im extremely tired from it all.

Or it could just be Im looking for any reason to justify stopping psychiatric help :(

This is confusing. But something Im gonna research now - thanks lagrima :o

Hope your day is kind to you

Take care

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my experience says , it does .

Perhaps for the same reason why the bulk of Scientific community

would dismiss the ' spirit world ' as nonsense .

Doesn't it depend on what your bedrock of belief is based on ?

Would you say yes to something that apparently takes the ground

from beneath your feet ?

care to back any of this up with actual studies or articles or....anything at all?

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Hi Lagrima :P

Well for what it is worth Im thankful for your thread. I would never of considered therapy from a spiritualist - didnt even know they could be of help.

Ive asked a few questions an looked into it a little - and it seems that it could be a good option for me personally :)

I hope in time that you will feel comfortable in sharing your experiences and feel able to discuss specifics. I realise its not easy to talk about oneself but over time it does get easier.

Oh and thanks for the info you PM'd me, it was really helpful to me :)

Hope that your day is kind to you ;)

Take care

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Guest ASchwartz

There is a fundamental difference between what is called the spiritual world, or, possession on the one hand, and medical conditions on the other. The plain, simple and basic fact that those with psychotic mental illnesses have neurological problems in their brain. fMRI studies clearly and without ambiguity, show this.

Lagrima, for some reason, you seem to believe that to be scientific you have to reject spiritual and religious beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not a matter of choice between one or the other.

Sweetsue, that is why you need not stop your medication and your psychotherapy/psychiatric visits. Perhaps the right combo of medications have not yet been found. Do you discuss this with your doctor as well as the fact that you still hear voices?


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Hi Allan, :o

Im confused :confused:

If spiritualaity can help 'cure' my voices and or hallucinations, then Im up for it - coz honestly after 2 years of various hospitalizations - ten ton(ne) of various meds - and still the voices an hallucinations persist - Im growing very tired from it all.

So what harm can it do to try this alternative route ?

I discuss my meds with the p/doc all the time - I hate taking medications at the best of times - even more so now that Im expecting the twins.

Im not putting a bummer on psychotherapy, and psychiatry - why would I ? So I am sorry if I gave that impression.

Im trying to do whats best for me - thats all. I have spoken with my p/doc this morn and he said the same as you Allan, that part of my illness was down to a neurological problem. However he is going to find me a therapist that works in the spiritualality therapy field, but advises me to continue with the medications, and to keep doing the 'trial and error', until the right combination of medications for me have been found - think thats a good compromise :)

Thankyou Allan, for your advice - I hope that your day is kind to you :)

Take care

Edited by SweetSue
spelling - sorry I cant spell for toffees
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Hello lagrima,

I don't agree entirely with Allan's statement though nor do I disagree that neurochemistry plays a role. Allow me to explain...

I am having a neurochemical response right this very moment. Therefore, why would I not have one to a series of events that caused my sense of self-identity to collapse? This is why I don't have difficulty accepting that neurochemistry plays a role but neurochemisty can be altered through a number of means.

lagrima: When somebody's presence visibly affects you - favourably or otherwise , would you agree that it is bound to affect the neurology of the person as well?

Anyone who wishes to test this can simply have someone come running towards them with their fists raised and screaming obscenities. This encounter will produce a very different neurochemical response than having someone walk towards you with a friendly smile and their arms stretched out to give you a hug.

Meantime, I'm also in favor of people making use of the tools that are helpful to them. There are many, many, many tools. The most effective treatment is the one that works for that particular individual.

In some cases there is no payment involved. Some charged objects (Amulets etc.) are also used , with instructions , guidelines .. and also words of caution.

This almost sounds a bit like some form of ritual or magic. I have known some people who have dabbled in those sorts of areas. Sometimes it brings them comfort, sometimes they find it to be a bit frightening, sometimes it's an expression of what's happening for them psychologically.

I would think two areas you should pay attention to is whether or not you become frightened by such things or whether or not anyone is asking you to provide them with a fee to conduct a ritual for you. Also, what do you think the benefit of the ritual might be? Do you feel it will remove something from you or put something in?

~ Namaste

Music of the Hour:

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Hello lagrima,

Different cultures around the world have different ways of dealing with human experiences. In this culture, if someone presents with unusual behaviors they may be taken to a hospital and given psychiatric medications. Other cultures might respond in a different manner.

I can only speculate as to why this ritual might have been of value to the young girl/woman. There could be a number of reasons -- some of them related to explanations that seem quite ordinary and others that are not so ordinary.

Now whatever you may call it , there seems to be some force at work , and it can serve to alleviate a problem of this nature.

I've tended to come at this experience of ego collapse (schizophrenia/psychosis) from a Jungian perspective. Carl Jung was a psychiatrist who believed that psychosis had a self-healing intent within it. We know that many people have recovered from psychosis and some of them become very healthy afterwards so there does seem to be a potential for incredible healing within the experience.

What does science know about it ?

Mainstream science? Probably very little. Quantum physics? Probably quite a bit more. You might also be able to find some information in the field of Transpersonal psychology.

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Here is an example of a story and experience that is similar to the one you shared lagrima. I'm only sharing a portion of the story but if you click on the link you can read the full story. It pairs well with the music too. ;)

... The fisherman's hook drifted down through the water, and caught of all places, in the bones of Skeleton Woman's rib cage. The fisherman thought, "Oh, now I've really got a big one! Now I really have one!" In his mind he was thinking of how many people this great fish would feed, how long it would last, how long he might be free from the chore of hunting. And as he struggled with this great weight on the end of the hook, the sea was stirred to a thrashing froth, and his kayak bucked and shook, for she who was beneath struggled to disentangle herself. And the more she struggled, the more she tangled in the line. No matter what she did, she was inexorably dragged upward, tugged up by the bones of her own ribs.

The hunter had turned to scoop up his net, so he did not see her bald head rise above the waves, he did not see the little coral creatures glinting in the orbs of her skull, he did not see the crustaceans on her old ivory teeth. When he turned back with his net, her entire body, such as it was, had come to the surface and was hanging from the tip of his kayak by her long front teeth.

"Agh!" cried the man, and his heart fell into his knees, his eyes hid in terror on the back of his head, and his ears blazed bright red. "Agh!" he screamed, and knocked her off the prow with his oar and began paddling like a demon toward shoreline. And not realizing she was tangled in his line, he was frightened all the more for she appeared to stand upon her toes while chasing him all the way to shore. No matter which way he zigged his kayak, she stayed right behind, and her breath rolled over the water in clouds of steam, and her arms flailed out as though to snatch him down into the depths...

Source: Skeleton Woman: The Life/Death/Life Nature

Music of the Hour: Dancing With Skeleton Woman

I once shared that story with a woman who was in a state of crisis and suicidal. It's only a story -- it's not a chemical -- but something about that story produced a very positive change within her.

Within a short time she found the strength to leave a very abusive marriage. She returned to the area where she had been born and took over the family farm. Her children, grandchildren and parents all live with or near her along with a man she refers to as her fisherman.

That woman still has problems in her life, as we all do, but she's much happier, less angry, more content and more confident... and from what? A story?! Rationally, it doesn't make sense but something about the story and the ritual made sense to her.

Edited by spiritual_emergency
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Lagrima, i like your line of thinking when you share the idea 'its like magic.'

Indeed it is 'like magic,' how our held beliefs can indeed support such a variety of emotional experience.

lagrima: When somebody's presence visibly affects you - favourably or otherwise , would you agree that it is bound to affect the neurology of the person as well?

ABSOLUTELY. The question is why?

I suggest Its based on the beliefs, picture, interpretation one makes about what is before them that determines the chemical change that enables the physical or mental experience. A person can brandish a formidable knife at a baby, and the baby will more likely than not simply giggle, and make it up as funny, until they chronicalize an interpretation such as oh, knives, they are sharpe, they can extinguish my life, and then the child receives a different chemically supported response.

SpiritualE. i like your input about how different engagement, personally, vs chemical intrusion, can indeed fascilitate a person to reasses their thinking, and thusly their emotional experience of habit. (the habit that precipitates the chemical response and emotional experience)

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I am aware there are indeed many options, in effectively inviting the beneficial potential, just as easily as other varieties, of "spirits" to participate in ones experience at this level we refer to life and 'being human'.

There is much available, and at our disposal in the frequencies and dimensions, we can learn to tune ourselves into.

Most of us limit ourselves with irrational fear, and all that follows that.

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lagrima: Jung may have a rationale behind the theory , but how far do you think this is effective in treatment ?

In the Can a Mind Be Well thread, I've shared information on three treatment programs that relied on psychotherapeutic approaches rather than a heavy reliance on antipsychotic medications. Only one of them was Jungian based but all three programs produced rates of recovery in the range of 85%. My own experience is closest to the Jungian model and I've never been hospitalized or medicated.

I do believe those approaches have demonstrated that they are as effective or more so than conventional approaches for many people. The problem is, our society is not set up to offer it and likely won't be as long as the pharmaceutical industry has the ability to literally dictate what should be considered a "mental illness" and how that should be treated.

lagrima: Spirit Possession Syndrome (SPS) is the actual physical or mental attachment of a consciousness to another person; the most common of which are earthbound spirits. The attachments may be benevolent, malevolent or neutral in intention. Spirits may attach themselves to a human being for many reasons including fear of the unknown after death.

:( I recently took part in a lengthy conversation with a group of people who seemed to pride themselves on being "Rational" as opposed to "Irrational". I would say that everyone is both but that particular group is split off from their "Irrationality" and are projecting it instead upon others, who they then punish for what they cannot tolerate nor accept within themselves. This is part of the reason society-at-large punishes those who have had "Irrational" experiences.

My own experience included what could be called a "demonic" presence. I certainly did feel at times that this presence had a vampiric quality that was sucking the life-blood out of me. In my case, I was able to trace a great deal of this negative presence back to some trauma in my early childhood. In the Jungian model, the symbol of "the devil" always corresponds to the Shadow and the goal is to integrate the shadow. This would entail working through any repressed pain or shame that hasn't been addressed in one's emotional life. That's not quite what you're referring to but it's close.

Meantime, some months back someone recommended a book to me called Remarkable Healings Here is an excerpt from the intro...

Over the centuries, doctors have tried countless therapies to battle mental illness--from shock therapy to drilling holes in the head--and have had little success. In Remarkable Healings, Dr. Shakuntala Modi offers a revolutionary psychotherapeutic treatment that dips into the controversial realm of past-life regression and demonic possession. It might sound like she is straying outside the bounds of credible psychiatry, but compared with some of the methods her peers still employ, Modi's therapy is conspicuously humane, preserving the patients' physical health and concentrating on repairing their problems at a fundamental level.

Interestingly enough, Remarkable Healings is not based on Modi's own religious or spiritual beliefs, but is pieced together entirely from the reports of her patients, who discover under hypnosis that their psychological and physiological problems stem from supernatural causes such as trauma in a past life or the interference of a discarnate entity. The picture that emerges is an odd mixture of Christian motifs involving God, Satan, and hell combined with other ideas such as karma and reincarnation. Modi is the first to suggest that this milieu may simply be a construction of her patients' subconscious, but stresses that treatment based on this system has a much higher success rate than conventional chemical and talk therapy.

Remarkable Healings could be seen simply as well-written entertainment revealing some of the darkest aspects of the human psyche, or as a source of instruction for defending against demonic possession, or even as a message of inspiration. However, perhaps the most far-reaching effects of Remarkable Healings will come from those therapists who are willing to set aside their aversion to unconventional methodologies and pass on the remarkable healings that Modi has discovered. --Brian Patterson

Remarkable Healings.

I've not yet read the book so I can't offer an assessment as to whether or not I think the individual case studies are related to a symbolic or metaphoric expression of their inner experience -- Carl Jung, John Weir Perry and Jaakko Seikkula all see the value in these metaphoric means of communication -- but it certainly sounds like a book you might be interested in.

I suspect this approach will create a great deal of discomfort in individuals who pride themselves on being "Rational" but perhaps it will be meaningful to you. The truth is, we don't yet know about so many things -- quantum entanglement and string theory are two areas where our expectations cannot be held to a rational model. Existence remains a mystery in spite of our attempts to lay claim to superiority over it.

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