Self-Transformation at the Boundary of Religious Conversion and Psychosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The relationship between religious conversion, as a form of spiritual emergency, and psychosis is one of the fundamental issues at the meeting point of theology and clinical psychology. In the present study, we assessed 53 individuals referred to a psychiatry center with the initial diagnosis of a psychotic episode by focusing on the clinical diagnosis (psychosis vs. spiritual emergency), subjective experiences (basic symptoms), and neuropsychological functions. Twenty-nine individuals meet the diagnosis of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, but 24 persons experienced only religious and spiritual problems (religious conversion). Both groups reported similar levels of perplexity (e.g., ambivalence, inability to discriminate between own feelings, and hyperreflectivity) and self-disorder (e.g., depersonalization, impression of a change in one’s mirror image, and experience of discontinuity in own action). Diminished affectivity, disturbed contact, and perceptual/cognitive disorders were pronounced in psychosis, whereas anxiety and depressive symptoms were more severe in people with spiritual and religious problems. These results indicate that perplexity, self-disorder, and emotional turmoil are common features of turbulent religious conversion and psychosis, but a broader emergence of anomalous subjective experiences and cognitive deficits are detectable only in psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 15 2017

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Psychotic Disorders
Emergencies
Perceptual Disorders
Theology
Depersonalization
Clinical Psychology
Psychiatry
Schizophrenia
Emotions
Anxiety
Self-transformation
Psychosis
Religious Conversion
Depression
Religion
Emergency
Subjective Experience

Keywords

  • Basic symptoms
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychosis
  • Religious conversion
  • Self-disorder
  • Subjective experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Religious studies

Cite this

Self-Transformation at the Boundary of Religious Conversion and Psychosis. / Kéri, S.

In: Journal of Religion and Health, 15.09.2017, p. 1-14.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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