Post 450-500 words with citation from articles: spirit possession



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Post 450-500 words with citation from articles: spirit possession
Begin by watching the two videos on spirit possession and the Pomo healing ceremony. The videos show examples of spirit possession and healing. Drawing on the videos and readings over the past two weeks, comment on your understanding of spirit possession as a diagnostic tool. Is there value in thinking of illness as a spirit possession? How would you describe what is taking place in healing from spirit possession? Use citations as needed. Post a 450-500 word reflection and then comment on other posts.


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Running head: DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 1 Abstract The West is fascinated with possession. Sixty-three percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 believe in demonic possession along with 57% of Americans aged 47-65, and 44% of Americans over 65 years old (Public Policy Polling, October 2012). Popular media focuses on demonic possession cases and, often, Christian approach and treatment using the centuries old rite of exorcism, or deliverance. The work of removing spirit entities has been defined crossculturally for thousands of years. Spiritual practitioners sometimes define disruptions in physical, emotional, and mental wellness as spirit-related, and use specific tactics for spirit removal. Western clinicians usually define claims of possession as on a spectrum of dissociation, or indicative of other pathologies, utilizing pharmacological and psychodynamic treatment modalities. Practitioners using a combined modality for treatment use clinical and spiritual assessments for mental illness and hesitate to describe claims of possession with solely clinical features. A review of research calls into question the clinical features of Christian possession experiences and makes a call for expanded awareness of possession and dissociative experiences, their diagnoses, and approaches to treatment. DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 2 Dissociative Identity Disorder and Christian Possession: A Review and Implications for Treatment Historically and in modern times, people have reported possession experiences. Those afflicted by possession, defined as being taken over or mentally overcome by a spirit entity, come from varied backgrounds, genders, and age (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed. [DSM-V]; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013; Hanwella, de Silva, Yoosuf, Karunaratne, de Silva, 2012). Western scientific paradigm and dominant culture do not validate the reality of possession experiences so that access to safe-disclosure and treatment may be minimal or stigmatized (Hastings, 1983; Kennedy & Kanthamani, 1995). The history of possession, dissociative disorders, and exorcism are discussed as well as implications for the treatment of dissociative disorders and possession claimants. Definitions In order to better understand the study of possession in Christian traditions and Western clinical approach it is important to define ideas and terms. Christian sects often support the reality of possession by spirit entities, referring to the effects of these entities as possession or oppression, and acts to treat humans affected by them as exorcism, deliverance, or spiritual warfare (Grob, 2010; MacNutt, 1995; Peck, 1983). These oppression or possession states are often believed to be demonic, or diabolically effected, with belief and treatment varying by country (Alonso & Jeffrey, 1988, Ferracuti & Sacco, 1996). Trance can be referred to as a state whereby a person is disconnected from their immediate surroundings, possession states are those whereby a person’s identity seems to be replaced by another entity’s such as a human or non- DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION human spirit (e.g., Hanwella, et al., 2012). Western clinicians may refer to such states as 3 dissociative trance disorder (DTD), dissociative identity disorder (DID), or possession disorder (PD) with indicators of trance state or possession trance episodes as delineated in the DSM-V (APA, 2013). These clinical terms often refer to single or reoccurring pathological states wherein a person is detached from reality, and/or has delusion or hallucinations about being overtaken by a spirit or entity. As dissociation can be diagnosed in sub-categories, this article seeks to reduce confusion and refers to the family of disorders as DID. Background A variety of research has discussed the experience of possession. The majority of studies attempt to define possession states as a clinical disorder, or on a spectrum of cognitive distortion in the general population (Bowman, 1993; Brand, Myrick, Loewenstein, Classen, Lanus, McNary, Pain, & Putnam, 2012; Ferracuti & Sacco, 1996; Irwin, Dagnall, & Drinkwater, 2013; Ross, Joshi, & Currie, 1990) as they are performed within a Western clinical paradigm. There have also been calls for an expanded view of clinical thought (Alonso & Jeffrey, 1988; Bull 1991, Bull, Ellason, & Ross, 1998; Betty, 2010; Gusch, 2009; Leavey, 2010; MacNutt, 1995; Peck, 1983) with emphasis on possible paranormal influence in possession cases. Historically, many references can be found in spiritual literature (e.g., Bible, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls) that give insight into the possession experience. Psychodynamics The shadow Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions. (Jung, 1960a) DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 4 Early Western theorists have defined possession, or dissociative experiences, in a variety of ways, and definitions have ebbed and flowed with time. Most believed that people operated with conscious and unconscious motivations (Breuer & Freud, 1952/1980; Jung, 1969). Freud (e.g. Breuer & Freud, 1952/1980) referred to the phenomenon as hysterics, and developed his theory based on ideas about sexual-repression and childhood abuse. Jung (1960b, 1963, 1969) held that people operated with conscious and unconscious motivations based on personal ego and collective ideas held by the human race, called archetypes; general ideas or symbols held by humans to define or predict behaviors and responses (the hero figure, the mother figure, etc.). Among many archetypes, a person’s unconscious held a shadow self—the underlying and often evil-seeming tendencies, beliefs, and desires of not only the person, but of humanity throughout time (Jung, 1963, 1969). Whether or not the person acknowledged this part of themselves determined their actions. These actions arose out of what Jung called complexes, the response to repressed unconscious ideas that manifest as behaviors, as in claims of demonic possession (Jung, 1914). This ego-centric definition of psyche has contributed to the framework for Western thought on possession. Jung (1960b) cautioned the therapist in making diagnoses, for a person’s who at first seems to be displaying pathology, may be doing so out of an unknown need that is not as immoral as originally anticipated . Society’s perception of pathology, or demonic possession, should perhaps always be looked at with a phenomenological lens. More current Western theorists (e.g., Bowman, 1993; Brand, et al., 2012; Gillig, 2009; Putnam, 1989; Ross, 1989; Ward & Beaubrun, 1980) describe dissociation and possession claims as often the result of severe and repetitive childhood trauma or abuse. A victim’s personality fractures into multiple identities in order to compartmentalize the horror of abuse and survive in the abusive environment. Alternates, or alters, fragmented personalities, may take on various DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION functions and characteristics based on the individual experiences, such as protector, child, or 5 aggressor. Often, these alters will identify as demonic, or evil—a trait these researchers describe as typical to enacting the anger and other residual feelings resulting from abuse (Bowman, 1993). It is their goal through the use of psychodynamic approaches to help the person integrate their personalities, or assist them in collaborating with the host personality to create functioning and wellness. Treatment approaches will be discussed further. The Reality of Possession Exorcism The Catholic church believes that exorcism is an ancient sacrament that upholds the right for Christian faithful to be free from diabolical danger and possession. Grob (2010) highlights the current view of the Catholic church regarding possession and exorcism when describing the Canon Law regarding the Rite of Major Exorcism. Exorcism is defined as a command given to the Devil to vacate a place, situation, or a person who is held in his power. Initially standardized in 1614 in the Rituale Romanum, the rite was not altered until the 1990s. The law’s terminology has been adapted to incorporate mental illness and the collaboration of psychological experts in diagnosing spirit possession. Most recently amended in 2004, the law requires that a priest must be given permission by an Ordinary (normally the diocesan bishop) and be “endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life” (Canon 1172). The appointed exorcist must research exorcism to discern authenticity of claims, ruling out physical and mental illness or imagination through collaboration with physicians and psychologists. Spiritual help may be given to the possession claimant, but exorcism is undertaken after careful research. Typical signs include, but do not necessarily diagnose, possession: (a) the ability to speak and/or understand an unknown language; (b) the possession of occult knowledge, and; (c) abnormal physical strength (Grob, DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 6 2010, p. 167). Spiritual and moral state as well as aversion to the sacred may also be indicators of possession. Exorcism is not limited to Catholics or Christians, but claimants must undergo a vetting process by the Ordinary if exorcism is deemed necessary. During the rite, which is structured with delegated rituals, psalms, and the laying of hands, the command is given directly to the Devil or in the name of God or Jesus Christ, through a supplicatory invocation to God or Jesus to assist in the purge (Grob, 2010; Vacant, Manganot, & Amman, 1923). The rite. Eleven praenotanda, or norms, are used during the official rite of major exorcism: (a) certain gestures are first emphasized such as the laying of hands, sign of the cross, breathing on the energumen, or person believed to be possessed, and sprinkling of holy water; (b) holy water is sprinkled; (c) the recitation of the litany of the saints; (d) the recitation of appropriate psalms; (e) the proclamation of the Gospel; (f) the laying of hands on the energumen and breathing in the face of the possessed; (g) the recitation of the Creed or renewal of baptismal vows; (h) the Lord’s prayer; (i) the sign of the cross on the possessed; (j) the recitation of prescribed formulas of exorcism over energumen; (k) the repetition of steps as needed, and; (l) the recitation of words of thanksgiving, prayer, and a blessing. Special attention is placed on the order of the rituals and there are specific preparations for the exorcist and energumen such as prayer, fasting, and mortification (Grob, 2010). Other Christian Approaches Protestant faiths may uphold different approaches to discernment of possession and rituals to remove entities, but the general idea upholds: spiritual entities can and do possess or oppress humans (McNutt, 1995; Pfeifer, 1994). Other terms may be used to refer to this process such as deliverance or spiritual warfare. Exorcism takes place using prayer sessions and involve DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION discernment of true possession by gifted individuals in the pastoral group (MacNutt, 1995). 7 Cross-culturally, mixtures of Christian and traditional faiths believe in possession and the use of special rituals that blend Christian and indigenous methods to treat possession conditions (Alonso & Jeffrey, 1988). It is important to note that such conditions are not always viewed as pathological. They may be part of a spiritual ceremony or indicative of spiritual growth, and do not necessitate treatment (Blinston, 2012; Braud, 1994; Eliade, 1964; Kennedy & Kanthamani, 1994; Walsh, 1991; White, 1995, 1999). Exceptional human experiences and spiritual emergence. According to Cardeña, Lynn, and Krippner (2000) unordinary events not readily described by Western scientific paradigm are considered normal to human experience with possible benefits for health and well-being or, alternately, evidence of psychopathology or neurological impairment. Anomalous experiences are most often described as unexplained perceptual occurrences such as seeing ghosts, having premonitions, or other sensory distortions (Pechey & Halligan, 2012). Such experiences have been described throughout time as natural to the human experience and possible catalysts for growth, or exceptional human experiences (Blinston, 2012; Braud, 1994; Eliade, 1964; Grof, 1994; Kennedy & Kanthamani, 1994; Walsh, 1991; White, 1995, 1999). A seminal researcher in the normalcy of anomalous experience, White (1995, 1999) found that such occurrences took many forms and were generally divided into five categories: (a) mystical experiences; (b) psychic experiences like precognition; (c) encounter experiences with spirits of the deceased or divine entities; (d) experiences involving death such as channeling, mediumship, or out-of-body experiences, and; (e) super-normal regular experiences, like extreme empathy. Similar to shamanic cultures’ ideas regarding seeming DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 8 mental and physical sickness prior to spiritual awakening, these researchers describe anomalous, or exceptional, experiences like possession as having potential for psycho-spiritual growth. Shamanic Practice Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism are all traditions that have shamanistic roots (Walsh, 1991). Cross culturally, it is pertinent to know, in the words of Walsh (1991), that in the world of shamanism, “Whatever happens—good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, success or failure—is likely to be attributed to the spirits” (p. 90). In America, for instance, the Navajo (Dene), describe spirit possession as a cause of illness, aggressive behavior, and criminal behavior (Krippner, 2012). According to shamanic belief, the world is divided into three realms that contain spirits who affect human life (Eliad & Trask, 1964; Harner, 2012), in some cases possessing humans (Krippner, 2012; Whitehead & White, 2007). A shaman may then treat the spirit possession through prescribed methods (Krippner, 2002, Walsh, 2007). Early Western anthropologists, scientists, and psychologists echoed actions of Christianizing missionaries that forced assimilation of tribal cultures holding shamanism at their cores—that the practice was either evil or deranged (Walsh, 1991). Traditionalists still practice their ancient methods of treating spirit effects, and successfully assist people who may otherwise be diagnosed with DID or similar disorders in the West (Gusch, 2009). If spirits can negatively affect humans, as thousands of years of belief would assert, there are strong implications for claims of possession in the West and resulting treatment modalities. Gusch (2009), a Western holistic practitioner, used a cautionary case study to describe her experience attempting to treat a woman who claimed possession by evil spirits. Initially she DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 9 did not believe in possession phenomenon and considered it a disorder. After attempted therapy with a client, she eventually believed herself to be possessed and underwent Mayan healing rituals that seemed to be the only effective treatment for her. She found herself believing in the reality of spirits and possession. Turner (1993) also had a poignant experience performing anthropological research in a shamanistic culture. The author physically saw a mass being energetically pulled out of a possession claimant by a shamanistic practitioner—calling into question her previous ideas about the reality of spirits and how they can affect humans. She challenged Western practitioners to broaden their approach and awareness of such realities. Implications for Treatment Clinical Approaches to Possession Experience Dissociative identity disorder. Western clinicians may refer to possession states as dissociative trance disorder (DTD), dissociative identity disorder (DID), or possession disorder (PD) with indicators of trance state or possession trance episodes as delineated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V, American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). Brand et al., (2012) reviewed currently recommended treatments used by 36 experts in the fields of DID and dissociative identity disorder not otherwise specified (DDNOS) using a quantitative analysis of survey findings. The key question addressed was what the mean preferred treatments were for DID and DDNOS based on reported outcomes of use with clients. The article provided theoretical bases surrounding causation of DID, indications of effective treatment, correlations to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and effective treatments for DID and DDNOS per the study. Longitudinal data from a cross-section of DID and DDNOS patients reported treatment efficacy to mean: “decreased symptoms of dissociation, posttraumatic stress, depression and DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION general distress, reductions in rates of self-injury, suicide attempts, and hospitalization, and 10 improvements in adaptive functioning over 30 months of treatment” (Brand, et al., 2012, p. 2). Experts were chosen based on a minimum of nine years in the field, training, and esteem among peers. The authors found that interventions for DID and DDNOS should occur in stages: (1-2) “assessment and safety strategies, daily functioning skills, and psychoeducation, as well as cognitive– behavioral therapy” (p. 4); (2-3): continued use of the first stage, focus on relationally focused interventions, cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT), introduction to working with trauma history, abreaction techniques, and exposure therapy to acknowledge links between DID, DDNOS, and PTSD; (4-5) continuation of previous work with focus on daily functioning skills and relationally focused interventions. Experts cautioned against using play with child self states and use of touch. The authors assert that experts in the fields of DID, DDNOS, and PTSD are working with comorbid disorders and that blended treatments may be effective based on their recommendations. If applicable, such psychodynamic techniques may be effective for those diagnosed with DID, DDNOS, and comorbid PTSD and show the efficacy of blended therapeutic techniques for dissociative disorders. Combined approach. It is a goal of many therapists, especially transpersonal, to incorporate all traditions and ways of knowing into their practice. Like shamans, a transpersonal therapist will take into account “the nature of the ailment, the nature of the client, the nature of the setting, and the nature of the treatment” (Krippner, 2012, p. 72). It is important for the therapist to realize that whether or not they believe a person is possessed, treatment that honors this viewpoint may be most effective for the claimant (Bull, 2001). Research has shown that combined therapies are highly beneficial—not only for their record of effectiveness but due to their ability to imbue DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER & CHRISTIAN POSSESSION 11 clients with a sense of empowerment, and more centralized locus of control and connection to all realms of existence and reality (Betty, 2005; Bull, 1991; Bull, Ellason, & Ross, 1998, Ferracuti & Sacco, 1996; Harner, 2012; Krippner, 2012; Walsh, 1991). These therapies must be used appropriately. Bull, Ellason, & Ross (1998) implemented a study of 47 reported incidents of exorcism used with 15 persons with dissociative identity disorder (DID). The authors interviewed participants after their exorcism experiences using the Exorcism Experiences Questionnaire (EEQ), an externally validated construct th ...
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