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Saints and Madmen: Psychiatry Opens Its Doors to Religion

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  10 reviews
What is the boundary between psychosis and religious experience? Psychiatrists have only recently acknowledged the role that spirituality plays in their patients' worlds, adding a new category-"the religious or spiritual problem"-to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994. Some psychiatrists now specialize in treating the spiritually disturbed, yi ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 7th 1999 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Aug 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ologies
I've been reading this book on and off for a year mainly because I need to write a paper on the difference between the authentic religious experience and an episode in mental ill-health. The book examines widely the narrowing chasm between psychology/psychiatry and spirituality.

A few things stick out at the moment from the book.
"One of the tip-offs to psychotic delusion, which has been known since William James's time is grandiosity: a mystic is humbled by his experience, a psychotic inflated"
Darius Rips
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is a person who experiences the direct physical presence of the divine blessed or insane? In an earlier time, such people were considered visionaries, and some were canonized. But nowadays, they are more likely to be regarded as insane, and confined to institutions or at least given a regimen of strong psychoactive drugs. Russell Shorto describes here an emerging branch of psychiatry that takes these patients mystical experiences seriously, and devises treatment that includes dealing with the sp ...more
Ed Smiley
The subject is an interesting one.
The author is all over the map, but I think it raises some interesting issues.
A person with mental health issues has a right to have values and ideals as well as anyone else.
There is a subtle difference between being deluded and having delusions in the psychiatric sense.
One may have ideas that are incorrect as to points of fact or assertions of dogma, or one may exhibit truly disordered thinking.

It covers a variety of approaches some interesting, and some disre
Luis Alexandre Ribeiro Branco
I have deeply enjoyed reading this book. There are many interesting parts, only for me, as a writer on the subject of spirituality, this book gave me very good insights about the biological view of spirituality and the spiritual view of biology. It is a must read book for spiritual leaders and psychologists.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent survey of the psychology of religion from William James onward...striking discussion of the psychedelic era and use of drugs as a religious substitute/sacrament...amazing to read today when so little discussion of inner life...
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, psychology
I loved this book. It's a little heavy in names/organizations, but Shorto tells a unique story of how religion and psychology are used together to help people. His history of psychology is very readable.
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Journalistic tour of the connection between insanity and mysticism and their common ground. Read it if you like William James.
Gabe Coon
recommend it!!!
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, illuminating, gripping. Loved it.
Airin Wolf
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a really informative book.
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Russell Shorto is the author, most recently, of Revolution Song, a new narrative of the American Revolution, which the New York Times called a "remarkable" achievement and the Chicago Tribune described as "an engaging piece of historical detective work and narrative craft." He is also the author of The Island at the Center of the World, a national bestseller about the Dutch founding of New York. S ...more

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