“It’s like a charge – either fuses you or burns you out”: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of extreme mental states in meditation context

Kaselionyte, J. and Gumley, A. (2018) “It’s like a charge – either fuses you or burns you out”: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of extreme mental states in meditation context. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 20(10), pp. 986-1001. (doi:10.1080/13674676.2017.1422237)

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Abstract

Meditation, an ancient Eastern spiritual practice, is increasingly being practised in the West where its benefits for mental and physical health have been established. Extreme mental states that can be encountered in the context of meditation have also been reported and often have been labelled as psychosis or spiritual emergency. This study aimed for more nuanced understanding of the phenomena. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to explore the meaning-making of three meditation teachers from different philosophical traditions. The teachers described phenomenology of various extreme mental states, explained their nature according to their traditions and discussed ways of helping persons who experience these. Significance was given to having a spiritual teacher to provide guidance and support. The study highlights the importance of acknowledging the diverse understandings of the phenomena and cultivating a non-judgemental attitude towards it, which could help clinicians and meditation teachers work together to support persons experiencing these.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gumley, Professor Andrew
Authors: Kaselionyte, J., and Gumley, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Mental Health, Religion and Culture
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:1367-4676
ISSN (Online):1469-9737
Published Online:16 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
First Published:First published in Mental Health, Religion and Culture 20(10):986-1001
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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