Spiritual Emergency and Occupational Identity: a Transpersonal Perspective

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Abstract:

The subject of spirituality has been developing over recent years in occupational therapy journals internationally and this article contributes to the ongoing exploration of spiritual issues in therapeutic practice. People can experience a transformational crisis through engaging in spiritual growth and development, a phenomenon that has been termed a 'spiritual emergency'. A spiritual emergency manifests itself as a crisis within ego-identity and can include experiences of disorientation and de-adaptation, which affect a person's ability to function in daily life. Consequently, a person may be diagnosed and treated for a mental health problem; however, a spiritual emergency may present a person with opportunities to engage in a process of self-renewal rather than being considered ill.

The dichotomy of a spiritual emergency as reflecting human potential or a mental health problem is a complex issue, which underpins many of the discussions concerning health professional involvement. This article argues that there are clear therapeutic needs for people experiencing a transformational crisis, which are well suited to the skills of occupational therapists. Engaging in occupation could play an important role in the process of re-adaptation during a spiritual emergency through enabling occupational identity, which could support the process of self-renewal. A case vignette is provided to illustrate the theoretical position outlined.

Keywords: IDENTITY; OCCUPATION; SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY; TRANSPERSONAL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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