Tuesday, October 4, 2011   4:14 PM

Paper About Mediumship and Pathology

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

Atlantic University

Much was written during the nineteenth-century and later about the alleged pathology of mediumship. A historical study of French ideas on the topic was published by Pascal Le Malefan (Folie et spiritisme: Paris: L’Harmattan, 1999).

The topic has been discussed again recently in an article published by Adair Menezes, Jr., and Alexander Moreira Almeida, "Mental Health of Mediums and Differential Diagnosis between Mediumship and Mental Disorders" (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2011, 25, 103-116). The abstract appears below.


The issue of the mental state of mediums, and whether experiences considered mediumistic are symptoms of mental disorders, has long been subject to debate. Recent empirical studies may help to shed light on these controversies. As there are only a few studies on the mental health of mediums, fi ndings regarding hallucination and dissociation in non-clinical populations are presented and discussed. Recent studies have not found an association between mediumship and mental disorders. Mediumistic experiences often occur in healthy and well-adjusted subjects. The occurrence of psychotic and/or dissociative experiences alone are not enough for a diagnosis of a mental disorder. It is essential to take into consideration the sociocultural context and the impact of these experiences on a patient’s life. In some cases, the emergence of mediumship may appear in the context of physical and

 Alexander Moreira Almeida

mental symptoms, which poses a challenge for differential diagnosis. Further research is still necessary in order to discover enough elements to make a definitive differential diagnosis between mediumship and mental disorders.

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