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Thrudr
16 Nov 2015, 15:25
I don't know if this is the right place for this topic, if not, could one of the mods please move it? :)

I have been reading about people with mental issues or disorders taking exorcisms as a way of alternative therapy. I have a degree in social work, so I take a more medical/psychological view on this subject. In a lot of countries exorcisms are still going on, especially there where mental health care isn't very advanced yet. Surprisingly, it's also still going on in the modern west...

I stumbled upon this guy from America called Bob Larson, who claimed to have done thousands of exorcisms. I've seen a few of his videos and to me it looks like a circus. The people who undergo the exorcism are often women who have a (sexually) abusive past. During the exorcism they are being grabbed and held by two strong men and while being confronted with their past are brought into a state of hysteria. After, they say they feel 'light' or 'relieved' and truely believe that the demon that possessed them is gone and they can finally go on with their life.

It has left me with a troubled feeling. People like Bob Larson are taking advantage of mentally instable people, which makes me sick. But those people also feel really helped and it seems they have been miraculously healed from the consequences of their abusive experiences. It's not clear how this turns out for them on the long term though.

My question here is: Could 'exorcism' be a part of mental health care if performed by non-profit professionals, f.e. with some sort of medical degree? Or is it merely dumbing down patients with a placebo effect as an easy way out from real therapy and medicine? What do you guys think?
(I put 'exorcism' in quotation marks, because in this case we're not dealing with real exorcism. These people cope with serious mental issues, not demons.)

Medusa
16 Nov 2015, 15:43
No. 100% effing no. Exorcisms piss me the hell off. People have a medical condition that needs medical treatment. I'm not a social worker. But I have extensive experience with dealing with a mentally ill person, my mother. Raised as a Catholic, she had to deal with not being medically treated due to some people's stupidity in their specific religion.

B. de Corbin
16 Nov 2015, 16:03
Two words: Franz Mesmer.

Azvanna
16 Nov 2015, 16:46
My question here is: Could 'exorcism' be a part of mental health care if performed by non-profit professionals, f.e. with some sort of medical degree? Or is it merely dumbing down patients with a placebo effect as an easy way out from real therapy and medicine? What do you guys think?
(I put 'exorcism' in quotation marks, because in this case we're not dealing with real exorcism. These people cope with serious mental issues, not demons.)

My first thought was no.

I never feel good about exorcisms. I've heard them being attempted on people and it's always disturbing. I don't like that clergy don't really understand what they're doing. There isn't a lot of biblical guidance on how to perform an exorcism apart from fasting and praying in the name of Jesus. Then there's a general lack of awareness around the symptoms of mental illness. So you have people telling those with mental illness that they have a demon and you could create more issues for that person rather than helping them. There's also a huge element of placebo involved. The person being prayed for is being told to mentally embrace their freedom and really believe that they're whole.

I'd be interested to see follow-ups of success stories Bob Larson is spruking. I don't believe it could be lasting. I think when people are abused like what you've described, it affirms their feelings of worthlessness and this is why it makes them feel better for a time. It kind of satisfies that hidden belief of 'I deserve and need to be treated poorly.'

So thinking on what the problems are with exorcism, maybe it could work in a highly controlled environment by someone with a psychiatry degree as one aspect of holistic care and only with select patients. I don't even think a psychology degree would be specific enough. Just as there is not a one-size-fits-all treatment for mental health issues, exorcism would not be ideal for everyone. So I'm thinking of candidates who already believe they have a demon without the professional suggesting or affirming it, who are already on medication, receiving counselling, and who have plateaued in their treatment. So, kind of more like Shadow Work than a one-off, violent prayer.

An exorcism could work for the same reason religion works. It gives people the opportunity to access power beyond their perceived limits.

MaskedOne
16 Nov 2015, 17:09
Not worth it. If you don't believe you're dealing with an actual entity then don't fight with tools designed for one. If you do believe you're dealing with an actual entity then apply due diligence to rule out other things first. If at the end, you're pretty sure it's an entity do not go to someone who offers exorcisms via telephone or skype. I won't go into a detailed opinion on Larson, I might have to infract myself if I did (well, try anyway, I'm not sure admins can be infracted without demoting them first).

Prickly Pear
16 Nov 2015, 17:29
Not a big fan of exorcism. I am personally close to a young person who was coerced into an exorcism by her family because she is gay and not gender traditional.

Mostly I think that there are people out there who are taking advantage of vulnerable people.

As far as exorcism working as a therapy as a sort of placebo, or working within the spiritual beliefs of a mentally ill person, I still think not. I have had someone I know and love deeply come close to death from mental illness, and I now understand the sense that the real person has been suppressed or taken over by something with cruel intent. But it is the illness. What helped was medication, therapy, time and love.

I do have to say that it did help me to think of the illness as a psychopath. Sort of as if your daughter were in an abusive relationship with a psychopath. But it was a metaphor for helping me cope with the terror and heartbreak of the situation, not a literal therapy.

Azvanna
16 Nov 2015, 17:37
If you don't believe you're dealing with an actual entity then don't fight with tools designed for one.

yeah... this is a good point! Some days I'm agnostic and some days I'm hardcore spiritual. Today's an agnostic day.




I do have to say that it did help me to think of the illness as a psychopath. Sort of as if your daughter were in an abusive relationship with a psychopath. But it was a metaphor for helping me cope with the terror and heartbreak of the situation, not a literal therapy.

Wise. To personify the illness and keep it separate from your daughter.. this frees her from shame and your judgement immediately.

habbalah
16 Nov 2015, 21:01
No. Personally I don't believe in possession, so the very idea of someone telling me that my clinical depression is because I have a bad spirit inside of me comes off as insulting. I believe that anyone "treated" for a mental illness with an exorcism is is only getting a temporary placebo effect, and will have to keep in a cycle of getting "exorcised".

B. de Corbin
17 Nov 2015, 00:19
YOU have a demon inside you. What did YOU do to let that demon in? What will YOU do to keep that demon out in the future?

YOU allowed it in! YOU will live the way I tell YOU to so it can't get back in! YOU are not ill because of things out of your control, YOU are at fault for YOUR own illnesses!

Go ahead... tell this to somebody with the flu...

anunitu
17 Nov 2015, 01:54
Blink!! Blink!!...So..........the flu is really a malignant spirit that decided to cuddle up my nose and throat,while crapping into my bowls. And would go away if a person dressed in a black robe splashed holy water on my body and soul????...Oh and made me some nice soothing chicken soup??

B. de Corbin
17 Nov 2015, 02:45
Blink!! Blink!!...So..........the flu is really a malignant spirit that decided to cuddle up my nose and throat,while crapping into my bowls. And would go away if a person dressed in a black robe splashed holy water on my body and soul????...Oh and made me some nice soothing chicken soup??

Yes. And the problem with our health care system is that most people possessed by flu demons can only afford Ramen.

Willow
17 Nov 2015, 10:52
During the exorcism they are being grabbed and held by two strong men and while being confronted with their past are brought into a state of hysteria. After, they say they feel 'light' or 'relieved' and truely believe that the demon that possessed them is gone and they can finally go on with their life.


Catharsis.


1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
2. Medicine/Medical. purgation.
3. Psychiatry. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects.
discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition.



It's actually a legitimate thing, particularly regarding emotional challenges that are not biochemical in origin. The individual has no effective tools with which to cope with, face, and handle their inner turmoil and it builds to fevered heights, often leading them to self-medicating or other dangerous activities in an effort to relieve that pressure (for lack of a better word). I can understand why they may turn to their religion and one of its more extreme methods of relieving demons (in this case, their internal demons that they may not actually associate with being a part of their own psyche grappling with their traumatic experiences). People turn to religion all the time when they are in need, when they feel alone, when everything going on is too much for them to bear alone.

Raising that internal build-up of emotions with extra triggers (being held down and confronted with a past that may well be part of the traumatic experience or specific triggers) and bringing on that cathartic release will feel like a "lightening of the spirit."

Some people have actually called it incredibly similar to (or it may be exactly) the feeling you get after your body endures an adrenaline rush. For people with specific triggers, to have those triggers basically thrown at you without any way of shielding yourself from it, will tend to bring on a panic attack (ie. adrenaline rush), which may actually be what leads to that cathartic effect and the resultant feelings of being healed.


If my theory is accurate, then no, exorcisms are not going to resolve their inner turmoils in the long-term. That really requires treatment methods (usually more than one) to help that person cope with their current challenges and lead them to a place where they are able to address the root issues and challenge them directly.

Medusa
17 Nov 2015, 14:32
Yes. And the problem with our health care system is that most people possessed by flu demons can only afford Ramen.

The Power of ROBITUSSIN compels you!
The Power of ROBITUSSIN compels you!

*throws holy Vick's Vapor rub all over you as you spew your chicken noodle soup up.

anunitu
17 Nov 2015, 14:42
We could be siblings with the vapor rub,My Mom used that for everything,and in the vapor rub boiling thing....

Medusa
17 Nov 2015, 14:44
My mom put it on my feet and then put my sockees on and I would be all warm. I still do that because of circulation. And when I have a headache I rub it on my temples.

anunitu
17 Nov 2015, 14:46
It is indeed a miracle...My mom put on our throats and tied a wash cloth around our necks.

anubisa
18 Nov 2015, 00:31
People can't cure insanity with an exorcism. They're wasting time. The person will still be insane afterwards. I believe that a person could be possessed and there are signs to a possession, but most people who are mentally ill are not possessed. They need health care, not religious help!

Marradin
19 Nov 2015, 03:39
1. This bob larson guy is a quack who in my opinion should be locked up as a fraud.

2. I actually believe in 4 kinds of possession so people saying it can't ever happen ... well, long story and I'm not talking with out the others there permission.if you ever see anything like what I saw you will reconsider your position. anyway 4 types
a) Spirit - willing possesse
b) Spirit - unwilling posesse
c) supernatural being - Willing posesse
d) Supernatural being - Unwilling posesse
An exorcism will only help BTW in B and D - in A and C you'd hope someone has picked somewhat carefully is all I'll say

3. Definitely overused. I have encountered one other person who believes and I believe has encountered a possession. and I've talked to alot of people about religion while their guard is down (used to work at pubs - 10 years - my favorite topics are politics and religion. Uni town so most will actually talk bored and looking for a hot target to try and pick up.)


4. I actually have a grudging respect for the catholic 'LEGITIMATE' exorcism system as pope Francis has set it up ( much as it causes me almost physical pain to admit that.) First you have to be no diagnoses after1-2 years with two independent "no Diagnosis" from two professionally independent psychologists with an MD agreeing.and then their office of exorcisms will consider it. not will perform on - but will consider if it's appropriate. and from what i've read Child abuse is a -if a priest did it we compensate and (supposedly now) turn him over to authorities - but not a Exorcism. otherwise - go see a Councillor Regularly we can't help you in that way. However there is an acknowledged problem with 'rogue' catholic exorcists - see my comment about Bob Larson above on these quacks - although they probably mean better on average than he does.

My two - nah lets give it a five- cents worth