Dissociation : Vol. 6, No. 4, p. 250-253 : Exorcism and possession: the clash of worldviews and the hubris of psychiatry
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Commentary is provided on four psychiatric papers concerned with (1) "trance/possession disorder" (TPD) and (2) "exorcism." It is argued that such papers exemplify a centuries-old clash of worldviews between science and religion. Arguments against the inclusion of the proposed diagnostic entity of TPD are outlined. The criteria for TPD are considered too vague for practical clinical use in differential diagnosis and may incite an epidemic of "possession" in North America if included in DSM-IV. The diagnosis of TPD may also enhance the unconscious institutional racism and ethnocentrism of psychiatry. "Exorcism" outcome studies that purport it is harmful to MPD patients are criticized for their lack of operational definitions, selection bias of subjects, and biased framing of quantitative data. Issues regarding the biased framing of data in scientific publications in general are discussed.