Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theology

First Advisor

Chris Fuller

Second Advisor

John Ries

Third Advisor

Murphy Fox

Abstract

Western Medicine and contemporary clinical approaches to psychological disorders alone do not provide the best care for patients because they often do not consider the religious views of the patient and disregard the reality of spiritual disorders such as demonic possession. Unfortunately, while modern psychology does well in certain areas, it lacks a knowledge and practice of demonology. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, may aid in diagnosis due to its awareness of mental health and demon possession as well as the ability to distinguish between the two conditions. Despite the common misconception that the Church abandoned its teachings on Satan and demons, it still consistently teaches and continues to teach--even by increasing the number of trained exorcists--the importance of distinguishing demon possession from mental illness. Placing scientific psychology in dialogue with religious beliefs will allow for much better patient care and is a key aspect of developing more humanistic care in the field of psychology. This thesis will attempt to bridge the gap existing between the diagnosis of mental illness and the acknowledgment of spiritual and supernatural realities in order to provide the best care for the patient.

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