Jaeren District Psychiatric Center, Austbøvegen 16, 4340 Bryne, Norway. T: +47 92617790/+47 51776950
Division of Mental health, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway
Norwegian University of Science and Technology-ntnu, Norway
National center for dual diagnosis, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Hamar, Norway
Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway
Stavanger University Hospital, Regional Network of Psychosis Research, Norway
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen
Centre for Psychology of Religion, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Hamar, Norway
Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, Norway
The aim of the present study is to explore the significance of religiousness for patients suffering from first-episode psychosis. Our study is a thematic analysis. The study illustrates how the patients understood their hallucinations as mystical experiences. Even so, many of the patients describe their religiousness to be helpful in coping with their disorder, giving meaning to life as well as a relationship to a sacred figure. However, their religiousness often contained religious omnipotent delusions, and built on hallucinations, displayed an unsecure relationship to the sacred figure. From a psychiatric point of view, the misinterpretation of hallucinations as mystical experiences may reinforce their delusional system and cause an obstacle to recovery. This misinterpretation may also cause problems for patients’ religious coping. Our findings underline the importance of taking patients’ religiousness into account in psychotherapy.
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