Clinical Psychology and Mysticism

By: Paulo Henrique Curi Dias  

This paper aims at understanding aspects of the dynamic interface between clinical psychological practice and studies within the field of mysticism, through the perspective that these areas of human knowledge offer a vast potential of mutual contributions. While mysticism will be understood through a phenomenological reading of the spiritual relationship between the mystic and the absolute, clinical practice will be understood as the dialogical experience built as an intersubjective relationship between patient and therapist, which enables a mirroring of the latter’s ethical positions throughout existence. The question addressed, therefore, remains: in which particular way these two different aspects (and methods) of human experience may establish a valid and rigorous form of interaction? In such regard, the research intends to approach both the ways in which mystical studies may broaden the ethical and ontological conceptions inherent to clinical practice as well as the way through which the clinical method implies at a new comprehension of spiritual phenomena. In dialogue with the psychoanalytic perspectives of authors such as Bion, Winnicott and Safra, we intend to regard the position of mysticism within clinical practice. Such study will be realized through a brief exposition of the concept of mysticism and its relations to psychology and psychoanalysis as it regards a way of questioning the epistemological and ontological basis of clinical practice and establishes a particular way of inscribing spiritual pathological phenomena within the interface between psychology, spirituality, mysticism and religiosity in its hermeneutical multiplicities.

Mysticism Clinical Psychology
Religious Foundations
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Paulo Henrique Curi Dias

PhD student, Clinical Psychology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

I am a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, currently a PhD student at the Department of Clinical Psychology at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I am also a member of the Prosopon research laboratory. I have been studying for many years the interface between mysticism, spiritual practices and the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis.