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DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems

LESSON 3.2 Typology of Spiritual Problems

Types of Spiritual Problem

Types of Spiritual Problems

The reliable recognition of different types of spiritual problems is in its infancy. There is considerable overlap in terminology in all the proposed taxonomies. Despite the human desire for order, nature does not usually divide phenomena into neat categories. I have seen people in spiritual emergencies whose episode combined elements from more than one of the types described in this course. One case I wrote about in Myths in Mental Illness had elements of both mystical and a visionary experiences. My own spiritual emergency had elements from both shamanic crisis and mystical experience.

Yet there is sufficient regularity in these self-reports to establish phenomenologically-based types determined by the way people have described the experiences. There is no claim that these experiences are "objectively true."

In this course, the following typology is used:

Mystical experiences
Near-death experiences
Meditation and spiritual practice
Psychic experiences
Visionary experiences
Shamanic experiences
Alien Encounter Experiences
Possession experiences

Other typologies have been developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof and the Spiritual Emergency Network.



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