World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Spiritual crisis

Article Id: WHEBN0024090930
Reproduction Date:

Title: Spiritual crisis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Process psychology, Neurotheology, TM and Cult Mania, Psychiatric and mental health nursing, Saṃvega
Collection: Mental Health, Spirituality
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Spiritual crisis

Spiritual crisis (also called "spiritual emergency") is a form of identity crisis where an individual experiences drastic changes to their meaning system (i.e., their unique purposes, goals, values, attitude and beliefs, identity, and focus) typically because of a spontaneous spiritual experience. A spiritual crisis may cause significant disruption in psychological, social and occupational functioning. Among the spiritual experiences thought to lead to episodes of spiritual crisis or spiritual emergency are psychiatric complications related to existential crisis, mystical experience, near-death experiences, Kundalini syndrome, paranormal experiences, religious ecstasy and meditation or other spiritual practices (Grof & Grof, 1989; Turner, Lukoff, Barnhouse, & Lu, 1995).

Contents

  • Background 1
  • The study of spiritual crisis 2
  • Neurological causes 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6

Background

In general, before the mid-1970s mainstream psychiatry made no distinction between spiritual or mystical experiences and mental illness (GAP, 1976, p. 806). However, during the 1960s and 1970s, the overlap of spiritual/mystical experiences and mental health problems became of particular interest to counterculture critics of mainstream psychiatric practice who argued that experiences that fall outside of the norm may simply be another way of constructing reality and not necessarily a sign of mental disorder. The assumption of mainstream medical psychiatry was also challenged by critics from within the field of medical psychiatry itself. For example, R. D. Laing argued that mental health problems could also be a transcendental experience with healing and spiritual aspects. Arthur J. Deikman further suggested use of the term "mystical psychosis" to characterize first-person accounts of psychotic experiences that are conceptually similar to reports of mystical experiences.

Because of the gaining recognition of the overlap of spiritual/mystical experiences and mental health problems, in the early 1990s authors Lukoff, Lu, & Turner (Turner et al., 1995, p. 435) made a proposal for a new diagnostic category entitled "Religious or Spiritual Problems". The category was approved by the DSM-IV Task Force in 1993 (Turner et al., 1995, p. 436) and is included in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The inclusion marks increasing professional acceptance of spiritual issues in the assessment of mental health problems.

The study of spiritual crisis

The concept of "spiritual crisis" has mainly sprung from the work of transpersonal psychologists and psychiatrists whose view of the psyche stretches beyond that of Western psychology. Transpersonalists tend to focus less on psychopathology and more unidirectionally toward enlightenment and ideal mental health (Walsh & Vaughan, 1993). However, this emphasis on spirituality's potentials and health benefits has been criticized. According to James (1902), a spiritual orientation focusing only on positive themes is incomplete, as it fails to address evil and suffering (Pargament et al., 2004). Scholarly attention to spiritual struggle is therefore timely as it can provide greater balance to the empirical literature and increase understanding of everyday spirituality. Another reason for the study of spiritual crisis is that growth often occurs through suffering (e.g., Tedeschi, Park, & Calhoun, 1998). As such, neglecting problems of suffering might result in neglecting vital sources of spiritual transformation and development (Paloutzian, 2005).

Both the terms "spiritual crisis" and "spiritual emergency" (Grof, 1989) share in the common recognition that:

  1. non-ordinary experiences and psychological disturbances (e.g., anxiety and panic) often overlap;
  2. Western medicine may have different, and therefore potentially conflicting, values among their patients about these experiences;
  3. people need specialized support in their local area when in crisis.

Neurological causes

Spiritual crises, and spontaneous spiritual experiences, may have neurological causes, such as described in the Geschwind syndrome and in neurotheology. The Geschwind syndrome is a group of behavioral phenomena evident in some people with temporal lobe epilepsy. It is named for one of the first individuals to categorize the symptoms, Norman Geschwind, who published prolifically on the topic from 1973 to 1984.[1] There is controversy surrounding whether it is a true neuropsychiatric disorder.[2] Temporal lobe epilepsy causes chronic, mild, interictal (i.e. between seizures) changes in personality, which slowly intensify over time.[1] Geschwind syndrome includes five primary changes; hypergraphia, hyperreligiosity, atypical (usually reduced) sexuality, circumstantiality, and intensified mental life.[3] Not all symptoms must be present for a diagnosis.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^

Sources

  • American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  • GAP (Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry) (1976). Mysticism: Spiritual quest or psychic disorder? New York: GAP.
  • Grof, S. & Grof, C. (Eds.) (1989). Spiritual emergency: When personal transformation becomes a crisis. Los Angeles: Tarcher.
  • James, W. (1902). The Varieties of Religious Experience: A study in human nature. New York: Longmans, Green.
  • Paloutzian, R. F. (2005) Religious conversion and spiritual transformation: A meaning- system analysis. In Paloutzian R.F. & Park, C.L. (Eds.), Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (pp. 331–347). New York: Guilford.
  • Pargament, K. I., Murray-Swank, N., Magyar, G. M., & Ano, G. G. (2004). Spiritual struggle: A phenomenon of interest to psychology and religion. In W. R. Miller & H. Delaney (Eds.), Judeo-Christian perspectives in psychology: Human nature, motivation, and change (pp. 245–268). Washington, DC: APA Books.
  • Tedeschi, R. G., Park, C. L., & Calhoun, R. G. (Eds.). (1998). Posttraumatic growth: Positive changes in the aftermath of crisis. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Turner, R. P., Lukoff, D., Barnhouse, R. T., & Lu, F. G. (1995). Religious or spiritual problem: A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 183, 435–444.
  • Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1993). On transpersonal definitions. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 25, 125–82
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.