Ways of understanding of religious delusions associated with a change of identity on the example of identification with Jesus Christ
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Zakład Psychologii Zdrowia, Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Zakład Psychologii Ogólnej, Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Submission date: 2016-04-06
Final revision date: 2016-07-11
Acceptance date: 2016-07-26
Online publication date: 2018-02-28
Publication date: 2018-02-28
Corresponding author
Krzysztof Dyga   

Zakład Psychologii Zdrowia, Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, ul. Ingardena 6, 30-060 Kraków, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2018;52(1):69-80
Identification with Christ among psychiatric patients is an example of a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. As a delusion it includes a misidentification (change of identity) in the layer of content and, usually, grandiosity and/or paranoid traits in the formal aspect. What is more, it fits in the category of religious delusions, which are perhaps the most controversial type of delusions and as such require special sensitivity as well as knowledge beyond psychology or psychiatry. The aim of the articleis to show the phenomenon of identification with Christ among psychiatric patients, taking into account different ways of its explaining and understanding. Papers relating to the topic, both theoretical considerations and case studies, found in the EBSCO database were analyzed. Searching for the articles the following key words were used: identity, identification, delusion, Jesus/Christ/Messiah, psychosis, schizophrenia. The analysis included all (actually not numerous) articles except for the one linked to cognitive approach which did not significantly contribute to the issue. Given the multiplicity of ways of explaining and understanding the experience of identification with the figure of the Messiah, it seems to be a mistake to hold both objectivist and one-sided, based on one theory, attitude towards it. Such an experience should be recognized in the context of the history of patient’s life and the all possible mechanisms leading to its occurrence, as well as the meanings hidden beneath the symptom, should be take into account. It is also important to be well-oriented in the system of religious beliefs and spiritual needs of the patient.
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