Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm

Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm

Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm

Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm


The new edition of this successful text builds on the very latest research to present an original and unique exploration of the psychology of both spirituality and psychosis. The editor brings together fascinating perspectives from a broad range of distinguished contributors.
  • This new edition covers the most recent body of research, both qualitative and quantitative, in its exploration of the interface between psychosis and spirituality, and investigation into anomalous experiences
  • Ten new chapters added and the remaining text completely updated
  • New to this edition is an expanded clinical section, relevant to clinicians working with psychosis
  • Offers a fundamental rethink of the concept of psychosis, and proposes new insights into spirituality
  • Includes feature chapters from a distinguished list of contributors across a broad range of disciplines, including Peter Fenwick, Peter Chadwick, David Kingdon, Gordon Claridge, Neil Douglas Klotz and David Lukoff


Isabel Clarke

The first edition of this book began by observing that the connection between spirituality and psychosis was not new or surprising. Anyone familiar with the recurring themes of psychosis would recognise religious pre-occupations as commonplace. Similarly, psychotic experience could be said to lie outside the domain of logical discourse and many would say the same of religious belief. Rather it was the way in which psychosis and spirituality had been kept so distinct that demanded explanation. The ‘New Frontier’ referred to in the title was explained as the breaking through into an area beyond the efforts to draw distinction between psychosis and spirituality, and an exploration of the creative possibilities that this vista revealed.

The challenge lay in linking the highest realms of human consciousness and the depths of madness. It was recognised that this challenge would feel uncomfortable to many. It required a rethinking of the nature of both psychosis and spirituality. I argued then that the psychological research, accounts from marginalised areas of discourse (such as the cross-cultural and anthropological perspectives) and data from personal experience brought together in the chapters of that volume demanded that this challenging new perspective be taken seriously.

That edition came out in 2001, but the material was essentially gathered in 1999. In the intervening 10 years, this perspective has emerged from the shadows into the light in a way that makes any special pleading about the need for a second edition of this book redundant. Instead, I will sketch in some of the developments that I am aware of that have contributed to this change of intellectual climate, and then trace the part played by the process that was started by the first edition of this book. That process began with conferences arising out of the book itself, and has ultimately contributed to the founding of a Spiritual Crisis Network in the United Kingdom.

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