Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Mysticism and mental health: A critical dialogue

George Drazenovich, Celia Kourie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 2 | a845 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i2.845 | © 2010 George Drazenovich, Celia Kourie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2010 | Published: 01 September 2010

About the author(s)

George Drazenovich, Lakehead University Canada, Canada
Celia Kourie, Department of Christian Spirituality Church History and Missiology University of South Africa South Africa, South Africa

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Contemporary research suggests that a path is now open for critical dialogue between mysticism and mental health. Data are accumulating regarding the frequency with which mystical experience occurs in the general population. Social science researchers are undertaking studies to determine whether people can knowledgably differentiate between the presence of a mystical experience and other types of experience that occur in their lives. Psychologists are developing clinical criteria by which the mystical and psychotic experience can be differentiated. Neuropsychiatric researchers are exploring the effect of the mystical experience by way of enhanced brain imagery. Theologians are opening up the received wisdom of the mystical tradition and applying it to the present historical context. This paper drew these diverse disciplines together to demonstrate an emerging consensus with respect to the efficacy of mysticism in the field of mental health.


consciousness; mysticism; neuropsychiatry; psychosis; spirituality


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