Korean Shamans and Childhood Trauma

By Kim, Jin-Young; Ko, Young-Gun | The Journal of Psychohistory, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

Korean Shamans and Childhood Trauma


Kim, Jin-Young, Ko, Young-Gun, The Journal of Psychohistory


In The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Sigmund Freud reversed the wellknown text in Genesis, "God created man in his own image," into "man created God in his."1 As his statement suggests, Freud had a longstanding interest in the inner representation process resulting in God and the Devil.2 According to Freud, the father is "the object representation which offers the materials for the formation of the representation of God and a Devil."3

Freud analyzed Christoph Haizmann, a seventeenth-century demonological neurotic, to support his opinion. In his analysis, Freud concluded the "demon" that Haizmann experienced was both a father substitute and a symbol of Haizmann's wishes regarding his father.

Sally Hill and Jean R. Goodwin, however, stated Freud had overlooked the relationships between childhood trauma and "demonic" possession.4 Based on contemporary experience with patients who considered themselves possessed by demons, Hill and Goodwin suspected Haizmann had likely experienced severe abuse.5 Juan Stephen believed that these discrepant opinions originated from the fact that Freud had not treated Haizmann in person. According to Stephen, if Freud had investigated Haizmann's personal history in more detail, he would have learned Haizmann was the victim of severe childhood trauma.6

Present-day researchers can easily find evidence of a relationship between childhood trauma and demonic possession. For instance, a Vanderbilt university research team investigated five demonic possession cases and discovered evidence of severe childhood trauma (e.g., family violence) in each case.7 According to psychohistorian Lloyd deMause, children experiencing childhood traumas tended to establish dissociated alters and, throughout history, their possession by these alters reportedly began in childhood.8 However, the psychohistory field has not focused on shamans as much as it has on cases of demonic possession, probably because shamans usually do not show symptoms that demand psychiatric intervention.

According to Edward R. Canda, shamans and demonic possession cases may be as different as psychotherapists and patients.9 First, shamans rarely exhibit social maladjustment, while demonic possession patients show difficulties with social adjustment. Second, shamans learn to voluntarily alter their state of consciousness and enter trances, while demonic possession patients do not have a control over the possession. Third, shamans perform the role of therapist instead of the role of patient.

According to Lloyd deMause, however, shamans and demonic possession cases share etiological commonality, despite these differences, in that "these God-fusion states are therefore defenses against and repetitions of early childhood 'insecure and avoidant' abusive attachments" to a caretaker (the mother or wet-nurse).10 He described the Holy Spirit experience of Saint Theresa as an example. "An angel pierced its spear several times through my heart... leaving me all aflame with an immense love for God. The pain was so great that I had to groan, but the sweetness that came with this violent pain was such that I could not wish to be free of it."11 As the case of Saint Theresa suggests, the neurological standpoint indicates these Christian mystical trance experiences correlate closely with the dopamine system's activities in the frontal cortex.12 Dopamine plays an important role in reward-seeking behaviors, such as consumption, addiction, and religion. Among the reward-seeking behaviors, religious activities (e.g., religious ecstasy) can provoke the most intensive positive emotions. With consideration for these differences between shamans and demonic possession patients, we here examine the relationship between Korean shamans and childhood trauma.

KOREAN SHAMANS AND KUT

In Korean, the word Kut refers to a shamanistic ritual managed by a mudang, a Korean shaman. Generally, the mudang performs the Kut when an individual or family faces stressful events or unfortunate accidents. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Korean Shamans and Childhood Trauma
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.