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From Spiritual Emergency to Spiritual Problem: The Transpersonal Roots of the New DSM-IV Category

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Apotheosis

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From Spiritual Emergency to Spiritual Problem: The Transpersonal Roots of the New DSM-IV Category

Source - http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/jhpseart.html

Abstract

Religious or Spiritual Problem is a new diagnostic category (Code V62.89) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (APA, 1994). While the acceptance of this new category was based on a proposal documenting the extensive literature on the frequent occurrence of religious and spiritual issues in clinical practice, the impetus for the proposal came from transpersonal clinicians whose initial focus was on spiritual emergencies--forms of distress associated with spiritual practices and experiences. The proposal grew out of the work of the Spiritual Emergence Network to increase the competence of mental health professionals in sensitivity to such spiritual issues. This article describes the rationale for this new category, the history of the proposal, transpersonal perspectives on spiritual emergency, types of religious and spiritual problems (with case illustrations), differential diagnostic issues, psychotherapeutic approaches, and the likely increase in number of persons seeking therapy for spiritual problems. It also presents the preliminary findings from a database of religious and spiritual problems.

Introduction


"Religious or Spiritual Problem" is a new diagnostic category (Code V62.89) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (APA, 1994). The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms (Walker, 1991) states that religiosity "is associated with religious organizations and religious personnel" (p. 184) whereas spirituality refers to the "degree of involvement or state of awareness or devotion to a higher being or life philosophy. Not always related to conventional religious beliefs" (p. 208). Thus religious problems involve a person's conflicts over the beliefs, practices, rituals and experiences related to a religious institution. Some forms of spirituality presume no external divine or transcendent forces (e.g., humanistic-phenomenological spirituality) (Elkins, Hedstrom, Hughes, Leaf, and Saunders,1988), and spiritual problems involve distress associated with a person's relationship to a higher power or transcendent force that is not related to a religious organization.

While the acceptance of this new category was based on a proposal documenting the extensive literature on the frequent occurrence of religious and spiritual issues in clinical practice, the impetus for the proposal came from transpersonal clinicians whose initial focus was on spiritual emergencies--forms of distress associated with spiritual practices and experiences. The proposal grew out of the work of the Spiritual Emergence Network (Prevatt and Park, 1989) to increase the competence of mental health professionals in sensitivity to such spiritual issues. This article describes the rationale for this new category, the history of the proposal that was presented to the Task Force on DSM-IV, transpersonal perspectives on spiritual emergency, types of spiritual problems (with case illustrations), differential diagnostic issues, therapeutic approaches for spiritual problems, and the likely increase in number of persons seeking therapy for spiritual problems.

Interview with David Lukoff

http://madnessradio.net/madness-radio-spiritual-emergence-david-lukoff
 
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schizolanza

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Interesting.I used to take mushrooms because of the spiritual awakening it resulted in.I used to call them 'my spiritual health check'.
I dont bother anymore as the olanzapine ruins the experience.
 
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schizolanza

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I used to find the experience challenging because there was nowhere to hide.Deepest fears had to be confronted.Similar in a way to psychosis without medication.
 
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Danage

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My psychosis has been about religion ever since it started, so spiritual experiences for me became the norm, but not any more, which in some ways I am thankful for.
 
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Apotheosis

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My psychosis has been about religion ever since it started, so spiritual experiences for me became the norm, but not any more, which in some ways I am thankful for.
Me too as well.
 
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Danage

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It was surprising for me to discover that psychosis being interpreted as spiritual experiences is more common than I originally thought.
 
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Apotheosis

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It was surprising for me to discover that psychosis being interpreted as spiritual experiences is more common than I originally thought.
Yes - the modern Orthodox bio-chemical paradigm could be considered the "Minority" view - especially if the bigger picture is viewed; in relation to history; other cultures; & the full range of thought on the subject.
 
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jodie20

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confused!!

hey i'm new here. could u narrow down what you wrote about at the top plz. i am not diagnosed with anythin so shouldn't really be in here. but ur post interested me as my family think that my spiritual beliefs are odd.

i wouldn't normally ask but i have troube taking in alot of info at once. thanx
 
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Danage

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hey i'm new here. could u narrow down what you wrote about at the top plz. i am not diagnosed with anythin so shouldn't really be in here. but ur post interested me as my family think that my spiritual beliefs are odd.

i wouldn't normally ask but i have troube taking in alot of info at once. thanx
Welcome to the forums. My beliefs were odd, foreign and heterodox to my family when I adopted Jewish beliefs, and it may have been a root cause of my so-called illness.
 
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jodie20

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my beliefs aren't really about "religion" they are more about ESP.
 
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Apotheosis

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hey i'm new here. could u narrow down what you wrote about at the top plz. i am not diagnosed with anythin so shouldn't really be in here. but ur post interested me as my family think that my spiritual beliefs are odd.

i wouldn't normally ask but i have troube taking in alot of info at once. thanx
I simply posted a excerpt from a web site concerning itself with "psychotic" experience with the experiences of the spiritual. Many consider that instead of the Orthodox paradigm (View); of mental illness being "physical" or of having primary & sole physical cause & concern - as in "a genetic predisposition leading to a chemical imbalance"; that it is more accurate in many cases to view mental illness in more expansive ways; from different perspectives; & taking into consideration more Spiritual aspects to the condition. That is it can often be more accurate to diagnose certain conditions from a psychological/spiritual framework.

Check out the links in the OP.

There is also this interesting site with a wealth of information of these subjects -

http://www.blogger.com/profile/16283478682307609903

There are links to three Blogs at the Bottom of this profile page -

Voices of Recovery

Spiritual Recovery

& Spiritual Emergency

"Trust that which gives you meaning and accept it as your guide."

-- Carl Jung


Spiritual emergence has been defined as "the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things." When spiritual emergence is very rapid and dramatic this natural process can become a crisis, and spiritual emergence becomes spiritual emergency. This has also been called transpersonal crisis, acute psychosis with a positive outcome, positive disintegration and an extreme state.

There is no sharp division between emergence and emergency. However distinguishing criteria include:

a) an 'emergency' generally has more depth and intensity

b) an 'emergence' is more fluid and less overwhelming and traumatic

c) during an 'emergency' it is very difficult to function in everyday life

A spiritual emergency could also be defined as a critical and experientially difficult stage of a profound psychological transformation that involves one's entire being. This is a crisis point within the transformational process of spiritual emergence. It may take the form of non-ordinary states of consciousness and may involve unusual thoughts, intense emotions, visions and other sensory changes, as well as various physical manifestations. These episodes can often revolve around spiritual themes.

The term spirituality should be reserved for situations that involve personal experiences of certain dimensions of reality that give one's life, and existence in general, a numinous quality. C.G. Jung used the word numinous to describe an experience that feels sacred, holy, or out of the ordinary. The terms spiritual emergence and spiritual emergency were coined by Dr Stanislav Grof (psychiatrist) and his wife Christina Grof who have worked for many years as therapists and researchers in the field of non-ordinary awareness and personal transformation. They have written many books about spiritual emergence containing much more information.
In what way do your family think that your spiritual beliefs are odd? I have ideas that many consider "odd" -but they aren't to me - they make sense. What are your beliefs? - if your comfortable sharing them.
 
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Apotheosis

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CORE CONCEPTS IN TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY

http://www.johnvdavis.com/tp/coreconcepts.htm

8. PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY, HIERARCHY OF NEEDS, AND DEVELOPMENTAL SPECTRUM, (Maslow, Wilber)

There are many variations on this theme and some important critiques of a simplistic or rigid view of it, but I still think it is extremely useful in clarifying misconceptions about transpersonal psychology.

Reality is ordered (e.g., matter, mind, soul, spirit) and identity and consciousness develop in a orderly fashion. This ordering has been seen as a hierarchy (linear with higher levels either incorporating or replacing lower levels) or as a nested hierarchy or holoarchy (with more expanded levels incorporating and extending more narrow levels...think of nested boxes or circles).

Maslow's needs hierarchy reflects this as does Wilber's developmental spectrum. Wilber: Three broad stages of identity: prepersonal, personal, transpersonal. Here, transpersonal refers to a particular level or kind of organization of identity and self-reflective understanding. It is not the same as spirit. A child is spirit, as is a meditation master. However, a meditation master knows her/himself in a transpersonal way, and a young child only knows him/herself in a prepersonal way.

This is similar to many other developmental models, as Wilber has shown. I think it is especially helpful to distinguish self-actualization and self-transcendence, as Maslow did. Self-actualization: fulfilling one's individual potential and living in an existentially authentic way. Self-transcendence: finding oneself at home in, and part of, the cosmos, beyond individual needs and identity. (Note: I still get excited by this concept. I feel Maslow laid out an agenda for transpersonal psychology that the field is still pursuing.)
11. SPIRITUAL CRISES (Roberto Assagioli), SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY (Grof), POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION (Dembrowski), MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE WITH PSYCHOTIC FEATURES (Lukoff et al.), NADIR EXPERIENCE (Maslow), a similar concept was introduced by Roberto Assagioli.

I have found the concept of spiritual crisis or spiritual emergency to be one of the most useful examples of a concrete contribution of transpersonal psychology, especially when introducing transpersonal psychology to people who are new to it or skeptical about it.

Sometimes, a spiritual awakening, very strong peak experience, or mystical experience can be so disturbing that one is not able to function for a time. The "spiritual emergence" becomes a "spiritual emergency" or a "positive disintegration." This experience shares many characteristics with brief psychotic reactions and other forms of psychopathology and is easily misinterpreted. Thus, it can also be called a "mystical experience with psychotic features." However, handled well, a spiritual emergency has the potential for an extremely positive resolution.

Maslow referred to a similar idea in a footnote to a discussion about peak experiences. He pointed out that sometimes an extremely negative (or "nadir") experience can have an extremely positive outcome.
Hope that isn't all too much info.
 
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jodie20

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its ok, i will have to read it about 20 times to understand it but i'll get there.

i have what i call "general" beliefs which hundreds of ppl who are not mentally ill share with me. like that we are all conected on the web of life ect.

but i also have beliefs that affect me in a negative way, like thinking that family members are reading my mind and using my own thoughts against me.
it can be very difficult at times because i tend to isolate myself from them (which suits me just fine as a long to be alone) which is very upsetting for my mom (apparantly)
 
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Apotheosis

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its ok, i will have to read it about 20 times to understand it but i'll get there.
Don't get flustered over it; or try forcing anything. This stuff isn't for everyone. Maybe have a look through the Blog's I linked to; & have a browse through - see if anything stands out or resonates with you. If it doesn't then; no worries. take what is personally helpful from it, & leave the rest.

i have what i call "general" beliefs which hundreds of ppl who are not mentally ill share with me. like that we are all conected on the web of life ect.

but i also have beliefs that affect me in a negative way, like thinking that family members are reading my mind and using my own thoughts against me.
it can be very difficult at times because i tend to isolate myself from them (which suits me just fine as a long to be alone) which is very upsetting for my mom (apparantly)
The first beliefs are common & "normal". The second lot I would explore.

What works for me is "questioning" & challenging certain ideas; beliefs & thoughts which I have. I say to myself "OK - this (whatever) may be happening; but what else could be happening; what else may be going on?" I try to see things from as many different perspectives as I can, & try to be detached from my own subjective view. In that way thoughts & ideas evolve & change; & they cease to have as much power over me. I get very odd thinking sometimes. I try to not act on it; but rather observe it - it may be happening; although sometimes I believe it is; it may not be - does it matter? They are just thoughts - thoughts which may or may not be in line with truth, or anything objective.

The "problem" or lets say the condition; is in my thinking - so I'm not going to go there the whole time for my reality. Reality is not in my head.

If I was experiencing what you are; I would say to myself - well so what? what can they do with it?, & try & turn it around; & not react to it.

I'm not negating the seriousness of how distressing some thoughts may be - I can get in some states too. Just offering suggestions of what may help. :hug:
 
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