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Religiousness in First-Episode Psychosis

In: Archive for the Psychology of Religion
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  • 1 a) Jaeren District Psychiatric Center, Austbøvegen 16, 4340 Bryne, Norway. T: +47 92617790/+47 51776950 Corresponding author hildehanevik@icloud.comb) Division of Mental health, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway c) Norwegian University of Science and Technology-ntnu, Norway d) National center for dual diagnosis, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Hamar, Norway e) Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway f) Stavanger University Hospital, Regional Network of Psychosis Research, Norway g) Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway h) Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen i) Centre for Psychology of Religion, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Hamar, Norway j) Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, Norway
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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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