Revelation, delusion or disillusion: subjective interpretation of religious and spiritual experiences in bipolar disorder

E. Ouwehand, K. Wong, H.R. Boeije, A. W. Braam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The objective of this study is to explore the interpretation of religious and spiritual experiences during mania, depression and recovery, from the perspective of bipolar clients and to inquire into their expectations of treatment in relation to these experiences. For this purpose, a qualitative pilot study is designed, which includes interviews with 10 outpatients of Altrecht, a Dutch mental health institution. The meaning of religious and spiritual experiences and the question of their authenticity proved to be an important theme for the participants. The support of spirituality for illness management was brought to the fore, as well as the temporary lack of this support during depression by some participants. Participants considered it desirable that more attention be paid to the topic during treatment, and to establish better cooperation between spiritual counsellors of the institution and other professionals. Thus, a more existential or hermeneutical approach towards religious experiences in relation to bipolar disorder would be a desirable contribution to standard treatment. The exact outlines of such an approach demand more empirical research.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)615-628
Number of pages14
JournalMental Health, Religion & Culture
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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