Speaker: Dr Jianan Bao
Topic: Mediumistic experiences: phenomenology and implication for psychopathology
Thursday, 14th October 2021. 18:00
Altered self-experiences (ASEs) are a category of experiences involving a loss of sense of ownership or control over one’s thoughts and actions, and perceptions without external stimuli.
These are features of symptoms which span multiple psychiatric diagnoses including psychotic and dissociative disorders. ASEs are also reported by people with no need for clinical care, without distress or reduction in functioning, in ways that are often valued by their communities.
Previous research has demonstrated persistent ASEs in healthy individuals belonging to religious and spiritual groups, such as spiritualist mediums.
In this talk I will discuss a study which aims to develop a mixed qualitative and quantitative method to categorise the phenomenology of ASEs in spiritualist mediums. In particular, I will consider the presuppositions of using descriptive psychopathology as a source for describing non-pathological experience, and what can be learned from using phenomenological exploration of non-pathological experience to help identity shared and distinct features of psychopathology.
Dr Jianan Bao is an Academic Clinical Fellow at King’s College London.