Dissociation : Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 094-101 : Historical and folk techniques of exorcism: applications to the treatment of dissociative disorders

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Title: Dissociation : Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 094-101 : Historical and folk techniques of exorcism: applications to the treatment of dissociative disorders
Author: Goodwin, Jean, 1946-; Hill, Sally; Attias, Reina
Abstract: Anthropologists and psychiatrists have pointed out similarities between the traditional diagnosis of possession and present day diagnostic criteria for dissociative disorders. Over the centuries, exorcism has been the treatment of choice for such disorders. In this article Christian and Jewish exorcism practices are described together with related techniques from other cultures. Common elements found in traditional exorcisms include: 1) use of special diagnostic techniques; 2) use of incantations, scriptures and music; 3) use of ritual objects; 4) physical interventions; 5) verbal confrontation of the possessing spirit; 6) aftercare; and 7) care to understand and avert risks to the exorcist. Familiarity with these techniques is useful when working with patients who allege that they are victims of sadistic ritual abuse, who may seek exorcism from traditional sources, concurrently with medical treatment. Also, understanding the significance and impacts of these ancient techniques may allow us to identify the specific vulnerabilities in dissociative patients which these interventions have evolved to address. Defining these areas may help us become more precise in predicting what kind of modifications in psychotherapeutic technique may be necessary when treating such patients.
Description: p. 094-101
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/1530
Date: 1990-06


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