Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Kundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric Disorders

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Kundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric Disorders

Article excerpt

Byline: Aarti. Jagannathan

[AUTHOR:1]Author: David S Shannahoff Khalsa

Year: 2010

Publishers: Norton Professional Book, New York, USA.

Through his book titled, ' Kundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric Disorders - Techniques specific for treating the psychoses, personality and pervasive developmental disorders' , Shannahoff-Khalsa has provided field-tested protocols of Kundalini Yoga Meditation for severe psychiatric disorders. These protocols are substantiated with evidence-based case studies, which add to the validity of the prescribed Kundalini yoga techniques. The author has written this book as an extension of his first book on Kundalini Yoga Meditation, where he focused on protocols for specific psychiatric disorders like OCD, couples therapy and personal growth. His introductory chapter clearly states that the focus of the present book is to target Kundalini yoga meditation for severe psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, pervasive developmental disorders and personality disorders and toward dealing with psychiatric 'multimorbidity' conditions (Chapter 5, Page 270) which seem to be common in USA. [sup][1]

In each of his subsequent chapters on treating schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (Chapter 2), treating personality disorders (Chapter 3), treating pervasive developmental disorder (Chapter 4) and treating multimorbidity in psychiatric disorders (Chapter 5), he eloquently details the diagnostic details of each disorder, its prevalence, conventional modalities of treatment, yogic view of etiology and yogic protocols for treatment along with successfully treated case histories. Certain notable and new concepts have also been discussed in each of the chapters. For example: in chapter 2 on 'treating schizophrenia', the patient's 'desire to self-heal' in the process of treatment has been emphasized (page 53). In chapter 3 (treating personality disorders), the traditional method of therapy for patients with personality disorders i.e., of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is mentioned along with that of yoga through scientific research studies (pages 122-131). Further, how certain symbols can be used as associations in therapy have been detailed (e.g., cave, tall tree, low tree, spiral shell, stick or branch, waterfall, snake, stone, claw, bird; page 150). In chapter 4 (treating pervasive developmental disorders, PDD) the authors have emphasized the need for therapy as an important part of the treatment, as in PDD's medications are observed to only help deal with the behavioral problems. Yogic methods to improve eye-to-eye contact and other symptoms of PDD have been detailed with the surmise that the effectiveness of the therapy would depend on the degree of trainability of the patient (page 280). Finally in the last chapter on 'multimorbilities', the author has detailed the principles of therapy to deal with these complex cases (page 270) and the importance of continued therapy for effective outcomes.

Certain issues raised by the author during the course of the book could, however, require further thought and debate:

*Desire to self heal: All the case histories reported in this book have been successful in healing the patient, because of their ' desire to self heal' (Chapter 2, Page 53). However, the basic challenge in treating any psychiatric patient with the conventional modalities of treatment and more so with the yogic protocols is the patients' lack of insight regarding their own disorder. The Mental Status Examination (MSE) of any psychiatric patient involves assessing his insight which in turn enables the psychiatrist to prescribe pharmacological/non-pharmacological treatment. [sup][2] The level of insight (about one's own disorder) in a patient can indirectly predict his co-operation to treatment and recovery. [sup][2] Psychiatrists, hence, aim to first stabilize the patient's symptoms and insight through pharmacological treatment modalities, and once the patient is amenable to suggestions of a therapist, the patient could be prescribed conventional or alternative therapy. …

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