Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1


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Based on the authors. Related Books. Books from this Publisher view all. Such experiences have been reported in certain specific biological states such as near-death experiences, temporal lobe epilepsy, psychosis, and under the influence of drugs. It seems pertinent to mention here that the elucidation of the underlying biological substrates for spiritual experiences does not prove or disprove their authenticity; it merely explains the mechanisms underlying these experiences.

From a more philosophical perspective, it does, however, suggest a biological determinism and the unlikely extracorporeal nature of these experiences. Increased religiosity and mystical experiences have been frequently associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. However, positive experiences are extremely uncommonly reported with temporal lobe epilepsy and many studies have failed to show any such relationship especially after controlling for brain damage and psychiatric comorbidity.

As the mystical experiences involve modulations of these neuropsychological functions, mystical experiences have been attributed more to the right temporal lobe. The neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin have been associated with religiosity and spiritual experiences. The level of religiosity and the positive emotional aspects of religious and spiritual experiences may be modulated by dopamine. Self-transcendence, a trait associated with spirituality, has been found to be inversely related to 5HT receptor density.

Again, it has been found that psychedelic drugs like D-lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin having serotonergic effects lead to spiritual experiences. The term psychiatry is derived from the Greek words psukhe meaning psyche or soul and iatreia meaning healing; healing of the psyche or soul. The relationship has been greatly influenced by psychoanalysis; Freud considered religion pathological neuroticism and amenable to naturalistic explanations.

The incorporation of the medical model into psychiatry led to its identification with the empirical sciences based on observation as the means of knowledge. From a clinical perspective, psychiatry deals with the aspects of human life, which are governed by scientific facts as well as religious values.

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Psychiatry, thereby, is in need to shun the indifference and get actively engaged with the study of religion both from a philosophical and a clinical perspective. Like other forms of spirituality, Sufism has resurged in the oriental as well as the occidental world in recent times. Sufi practices, or a belief in these, form an important part of the belief system of an increasingly large number of people both in the Muslim world and outside.

The manifold increase in the mental-health related problems in recent years,[ 42 ] means that more and more such people will come into contact with mental-health related services.

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The contact of people with Sufi orientation with the mental health services gives rise to issues that need to be addressed at multiple levels. There is evidence to show that a consideration of the spiritual needs of patients by the mental health professionals confers benefit to the patients. In a recent survey, Foskett et al. The evidence for this is mixed at the moment-studies show positive as well as the negative impact of the spiritual and religious beliefs and practices on the physical and mental well-being of people.

An integral part of the current medical and mental health training involves inculcating a more objective attitude in the professionals that implicitly involves keeping their religious and spiritual beliefs and practices out of the clinical milieu. This calls for an effort on the part of mental health professionals to understand the Sufi beliefs and practices as more and more such people are likely to come into contact with the mental health services in increasing geographical locales. However, due care has to be taken that mental health professionals do not impose or prescribe their religious or spiritual beliefs to their patients.

However, comprehensive a mentally ill patient's assessment might be, it most often does not include an assessment of spiritual beliefs and practices. This is ironical, especially in the Eastern context, where spiritual including Sufi beliefs and practices are an integral part of the cultural milieu.


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The seeds of this neglect lie mainly in the medical model of psychiatry that mental health professionals follow and partly in the lack of training, interest and time and discomfort with the subject. Apart from being a set of beliefs and practices, spirituality including Sufism claims the answers for some fundamental questions involving the life and death of people, which assume more significance during the time of illness.

The assessment of Sufi beliefs and practices has to be tailored to the individual patient. The assessment may best be deferred in an acutely ill patient unless Sufi concerns contribute to the acute condition. As a routine a brief assessment may be followed by a more thorough one on a need basis. Several brief assessment methods have been proposed for the assessment of spirituality in general that may help screen the patients for further in-depth assessment.

The initial assessment should include:. Faith: Importance of faith in day-to-day life? An increasing number of people from different religious faiths, besides Islam, are following Sufi beliefs and practices and hence considerable admixtures of beliefs and practices should be expected. Influence: Influence of faith on life, past and present? The Sufi practices of self-mortification may, apart from influencing the belief system, lead to significant changes in the practical life, which needs to be understood in proper perspective.

Community: Affiliations with any religious or spiritual community? Almost all Sufi believers belong to one or the other lineage silsila which may significantly differ in terms of beliefs and practices from the other. Address: Spiritual needs to be addressed? An in-depth interview, from a clinical as well as a spiritual perspective, may follow this depending upon the needs of the patient as uncovered during the screening. Sufi beliefs and practices can contribute to mental health as well as illness.

The benefits might range from providing a meaning to life, improved coping, a better quality of life and mental health, and speedy recovery from mental illnesses. On the other hand, these beliefs and practices may sometimes lead to acute breakdowns and may be causally related to the mental illness or contribute to the psychopathology.

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Religious and spiritual problems are given a V code under other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention. Besides, under the multiaxial diagnostic system in DSM-IV-TR, axis IV describes psychosocial and environmental factors that may affect the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of mental disorders axis I and II , where spiritual and religious problems that do not meet the threshold for a V code can be placed.

The religious and spiritual problems may include conversion to a new religion including cults , a rejection of a prior religion or loss of faith, the intensification of beliefs and practices, experiences of guilt, mystical experiences, near-death experiences, and reactions to terminal illness. Sufi experiences are diverse and include the domains of thought, perception, and feeling.

Most of these experiences will never come to the clinical attention for two reasons: These experiences are firmly grounded in the spirituo-cultural milieu from which the person comes, and there is little in the way of dysfunction that these lead to. Of the experiences that come to the clinical attention, most can be differentiated based on the phenomenological grounds.

The content of the experience — spiritual or psychotic, is culturally determined and may have no bearing on the diagnosis; it is the form of the experience which differentiates the two and may reveal the diagnosis. Differentiating the form from the content of the experience should prevent such confusions of the past as religious mania.

It is the differentiation of these experiences that gives rise to questions about the validity of the concept of mental illness on one hand and of the spiritual experiences on the other. Not surprisingly, therefore, extreme views have been argued about the nature of such experiences — labeling all of these as psychotic or spiritual depending upon one's leanings.

A more balanced view suggests that differentiation between such phenomenologically similar experiences may be possible based on their emotional value spiritual experiences being mostly positive , overwhelming nature spiritual experiences are less overwhelming , functional deterioration spiritual experiences are less often dysfunctional , and as Jackson and Fulford[ 31 ] argue, the way in which the experience in question is embedded in the individual's values and beliefs. Again, these differentiations are value laden and therefore, vary across cultures and are questionable.

Spiritual and religious beliefs form an important means of coping with stress for a large number of people but unfortunately this has received little attention by the mental health professionals. Recently, however, religion and spirituality have been incorporated into the therapeutic process and have shown promising results.

Though Sufi beliefs and practices have been incorporated into the transpersonal psychotherapy but there exists no literature about the incorporation of these into the cognitive behavior therapy models. Spiritually augmented cognitive behavior therapy is primarily a cognitive behavior therapy which incorporates the individual's belief system, specifically the spiritual, to focus on the existential issues. The therapist works with the individual's spiritual beliefs and practices like meditation, prayer, etc. The therapy spans over sessions, each session lasting min conducted once a week.

The therapy has demonstrated efficacy in controlled trials with reduction of relapse and re-hospitalization in the treatment group. Transpersonal psychotherapy is based on the premise that human beings are essentially spiritual beings and hence the core qualities associated with spirituality form the goals of transpersonal psychotherapy.

Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1
Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1 Life Balance The Sufi Way: 1

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