Track: Transpersonal Psychology, Psychotherapy and Clinical Studies
Spiritual experiences in clinical practice: an investigation of their impacts and prevalence
Spiritual and religious experiences have a high prevalence in different cultures. Such experiences may have implications for clinical practice, since they are associated with well-being, sense in life and coping. Part of these experiences may also involve suffering and difficulties of adaptation, characterized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as Spiritual and Religious Problems. Such experiences have not yet been classified systematically, and the way psychiatrists and psychologists deal with them in their practice is little known, despite the ethical implications of the theme. It is also unknown the penetration of these topics in the graduation and academic training of these professionals in Brazil. OBJECTIVE: To investigate how students and professionals in the areas of psychiatry and psychology understand spiritual experiences and their role within their profession, in order to evaluate the possible implications of such understanding and perspectives in the therapeutic context. METHOD: A qualitative-quantitative basis was used, based on a semi-addressed questionnaire published on an online platform. RESULTS: A total of 95 respondents (62.6% professionals) participated in the study. 54% of professionals reported episodes of religious or spiritual experiences in therapy or shared by their patients. 71.7% answered yes to the question "Have you ever had any experience considered religious, spiritual or paranormal?". 97% of students and practitioners considered such experiences to be important to a person's well-being, but varied in their rationale for this, with some arguing for the importance of studying them, while others defined them as "epiphenomena" of pathological processes. CONCLUSIONS: This subject is still little studied, despite the high interest and prevalence among patients, professionals and students.
I am a clinical transpersonal psychologist, working also as a researcher at PROSER (IPQ-FMUSP), where I study to obtain a PhD. My main subject of interest is the spiritual experiences and how to use them in clinical practice. I am currently vice president of Alubrat Brazil and have been teaching in many post graduation courses at Alubrat, Unipaz, PUCRS, IPQ-FMUSP, etc. I am a mother of three beautiful girls an live in São Paulo, Brazil.