SCRC 251: DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems


Why I created this Course Course Description Course Objectives Instructions for Taking This Course Approvals Instructions for CE credit Help with the Course Software & Equipment needed Cost & Refund Policy Difficulties Course Outline and Suggested Times

Why I created this course
My interest in spirituality and mental health dates back to 1971, when I spent 2 months in a spiritual crisis--convinced that I was a reincarnation of Buddha and Christ with a messianic mission to save the world. In my clinical practice as a psychologist and my work with the Spiritual Emergence Network for the past 25 years, I have often found myself face-to-face with individuals with the same beliefs. By giving me a rare opportunity to go through the complete cycle and phenomenology of a naturally-resolving psychotic episode, my spiritual emergency was a valuable clinical experience as well as a spiritual awakening! In 1994 my work in this area came to fruition when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) included a category entitled Religious or Spiritual Problem (V62.89) of which I was a co-author. My personal objective in developing this course is to help people survive the perils of the spiritual path and reap the benefits of a consciously lived spiritual life.

Course Description
The inclusion in the DSM-IV of a new diagnostic category called "Religious or Spiritual Problem" marks a significant breakthrough. For the first time, there is acknowledgment of distressing religious and spiritual experiences as nonpathological problems. This course is designed to teach mental health professionals about the process of its acceptance, its definition, various types of religious and spiritual problems, differential diagnosis, and treatment of these problems. Online resources are used throughout so that participants are equipped to keep up with new findings and developments through the Internet.

Course Objectives
At the end of this course, you will be more culturally competent in treating religious and spiritual problems. Specifically, you will be able to:

1) discuss the background, history and rationale for the new diagnostic category, Religious or Spiritual Problem
2) describe the main types of religious and spiritual problems
3) differentiate religious and spiritual problems from psychopathology
4) choose more effective treatment modalities for religious and spiritual problems

Instructions for Taking This Course
The lessons for this course are online. For ease of later access, bookmark the Course Home Page, although you can always access it from the Spiritual Competency Resource Center homepage.

Each lesson opens into a new window, so when you are finished with a lesson, just close that window. The Course Homepage will still be there.

Or you can move to the next lesson by clicking on the Next Lesson link at the bottom of each lesson page, or the lesson links at the top of each lesson page.

Each link also opens into a new window, so when you are finished with visiting a site, close that window and you will return to the lesson. .

Most of the time you will be visiting sites on the World Wide Web, a part of the Internet. Thus you will need to have online access most of the time during the course. You can print the lessons out for even easier reading off-line, and then go back online to visit the links. None of the sites in this course charge for using their resources.

Course Links

Quiz & Quest
Web site

Four types of links are used in the course.

The links marked with the Eyeballs are required for CE credit. Some are Quiz items and some are Quest Search exercises which require finding a specific piece of information or type of resource. The Webquest is a popular method for teaching Internet skills in k-12 settings. I have adapted that approach because it is congruent with my commitment to a constructivist approach to education that fosters learning by doing. Note that only 75% of the Quiz and Quest Search exercises need to be completed correctly so if you have difficulty locating one of the resources, just go on to the next Quiz or Quest item.

The Globe, the Speaker, and the Book represent different types of resources that are also part of the course. Look them over although they do not involve quiz or quest exercises.

The links that are underlined in the body of the text are there as references if you want to check them out, such as the link to Webquest.

Internet Guided Learning has approvals from:

California Board of Behavioral Sciences
California Board of Registered Nursing
American Psychological Association (Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for the program.) CE availability - This link lets you check whether your state accepts APA CE.
MCEP credit for psychologists in California is available by submitting the APA completion certificate.

Instructions for CE credit
Collecting CE requires filling out the CE Quiz Form and paying the tuition fee of $89. You can register and fill out the Online CE Quiz Form (includes a secure form for credit card payment). Most people prefer to print out this form and fill it in as they work their way through the course. Then complete the form online or mail or fax it to Spiritual Competency Resource Center (instructions are on the form). Include the tuition fee of $89 by check or credit card number. Your certificate awarding 8 hours of CE will be e-mailed to you.

Help with the Course
You can contact the instructor, Dr. David Lukoff, via email or by toll-free phone at 888.880.2870.

Software and Equipment Needed
You only need to have access to a computer with Internet service and a browser such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer (which you probably have to be reading this!) Public libraries usually offer free access to the Internet.

Cost & Refund Policy
This course is free to preview. If prepayment is made, then a full refund is available at any point for any reason up until CE is awarded. Full refund is also available if your state board does not accept the type of CE that Spiritual Competency Resource Center awards. Contact the instructor, Dr. David Lukoff, via email or by phone at 888.880.2870 to request a re fund.

Can't get to a link
The server for that site may temporarily be experiencing problems. If a link doesn't work, skip it and come back to it later. The site will probably be back up. Occasionally a site used in this course may have been taken down. Availability of links is checked regularly. If you have persisting trouble accessing a site, please notify the instructor.

It takes a long time for web site to appear
The World Wide Web has also been called the World Wide Wait. If you are using a slow speed modem (28k or less), or an older computer with a slow processor, web pages can take one or more minutes to appear. I have the late model Apple G4 Macintosh with a cable modem, and this combination brings up most web pages in a few seconds. But cable modems and DSL high speed lines typically cost $40-50 per month, more than twice what most Internet Service Providers charge. Many universities and libraries provide high speed access. Web pages do come up sooner when they are revisited because parts of the page are saved in a "cache" on your hard disk.

Course Outline and Suggested Times
There is some flexibility as to how to spend your time. The expectation is that you will spend 8 hours total on this course.

Introduction to Course-15 minutes

I Background of DSM-IV Category-60 minutes

II Religious Problems-60 minutes
Lesson 2.1 Religious Problems
Lesson 2.2 Loss or questioning of faith
Lesson 2.3 Changes in membership, practices and beliefs
Lesson 2.4 New Religious Movements and Cults
Lesson 2.5 Terminal and life-threatening illness

III Spiritual Problems-90 minutes
Lesson 3.1 Spiritual Emergence
Lesson 3.2 Spiritual Problems

Lesson 3.3 Mystical experiences
Lesson 3.4 Near-death experiences
Lesson 3.5 Meditation & Spiritual Practice
Lesson 3.6 Psychic experiences
Lesson 3.7 Visionary Experiences
Lesson 3.8 Shamanic experiences

Lesson 3.9 Alien Encounter Experiences
3.10 Possession experiences

IV Co-Ocurrence with Mental Disorders-60 minutes

V Differential Diagnosis-60 minutes

VI Therapeutic Interventions-60 minutes
Lesson 6.1 Spiritual Crises
Lesson 6.2 Psychotherapy

VII Online Resources-60 minutes
Lesson 7.1 Online Resources
Lesson 7.2 Searching Medline

Filling out Continuing Education Quiz and Quest Search Exercises, and Evaluation Forms
15 minutes

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