The influence of Catholic religion on Spanish psychiatry – Special Article J. Obiols-Llandrich 122 – 127 The purpose of this paper is to review the role played by Catholic religion and its influence in the development of Spanish psychiatry. This religion has played an important role in Spanish culture for centuries. A special attention is devoted to the dark period of General Franco’s Dictatorship, from 1939 to 1975, when the role of Catholicism was overwhelming by its strong influence on every aspect of Spanish society. Psychiatry could not escape to this influence and many conceptions were embedded by religion in the more fundamentalistic way. Some comments on the important role played by the Catholic Church in the field of psychiatric assistance are also presented.
The mystical roots of psychoanalytic theory – Review Article S. Dein 133 – 137 This paper examines the similarities and differences between ideas deriving from Rabbinic and mystical Judaism and psychoanalytic concepts. It will present material both from the Talmud and the Kabbalah (particularly the Zohar and Lurianic Kabbalistic writings). While not arguing necessarily for any historical continuity it explores how Jewish ideas provide a deep structure underlying psychoanalytic thought. Kabbalah and psychanalysis share an emphasis on restitution. For Kabbalists it is the soul which is reconstituted and for psychoanalysts the self. Both aim to explore the conscious and unconscious aspects of existence, the obvious and the esoteric. The similarities between Freud and Klein’s ideas and Kabbalistic themes are discussed.
The sociocultural boundaries of mental health: Experience in two Arabian Gulf countries – Original Paper M. El Islam 143 – 146 Mental health includes adjustment to human environments (positive component) and excludes psychological suffering (negative component). In Arabian Gulf communities in two countries little emphasis is placed on achievement motivation and work productivity among indigenous citizens. Therefore work adjustment has a minor role in defining ill health and recovery. Rapid socioeconomic change led to a lot of intergenerational conflict in the community and among psychiatric patients. An apparent rise in mental ill health rates associated with increased education that unmasked the less endowed and changed the attribution of disturbed behaviour from the supernatural to the psychological. Social problems e.g. deviance or misconduct have been psychologized. Collaboration with families provided an alternative to mental health legislation in these communities. Families are the only support of the mentally ill and their involvement in the patient-doctor relationship, aftercare and rehabilitation is the rule. Liaison with religious healers is minimal in the area of mental ill health. Auto-religious healing is encouraged instead of resort to religious healers.
Prayers and healing in the Christian tradition – Special Article A. Favazza 147 – 151 Receiving whatever one asks for by petitioning God through prayer was established in Christian tradition by statements in the Bible. Prayers for healing from illness are a significant part of this tradition. Scientific proof for the efficacy of prayers in healing is scant. Studies of remote intercessory prayers have failed to demonstrate an advantage to prayed-for patients.
The pathoplastic effect of culture on psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia – Original Paper T. Stompe, H. Karakula, P. Rudaleviciene, . Okribelashvili, H. Chaudhry, E. Idemudia, S. Gscheider 157 – 163 Contemporary psychiatry attempts to clarify etiological and pathogenetic aspects of a number of suspected “biological” disorders, like severe affective disorders and schizophrenia, primarily by means of biomedical methods. But there are phenomena like contents of delusions which cannot be easily explained by biological or allied socio-medical sciences. Although it is generally accepted knowledge that prevalence and shape of certain psychotic phenomena are influenced by cultural patterns, the degree of the pathoplasticity of these symptoms is yet unknown. Based on data of the International Study on Psychotic Symptoms (ISPS) including 1080 subjects from Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Georgia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ghana we tried to estimate the culture-sensitive variance of contents of delusions, hallucinations and first rank symptoms. We found rates between 15% and 40% by means of canonical discriminant analysis. Our results confirm cultural psychiatry as an important tool for the understanding and consequently for the treatment of patients with major mental disorders.
The question of the Mafia-style sub-culture role in female subordination – Original Paper I. Testoni, L. Ronconi, D. Boccher 164 – 181 This article considers a specific question about the relationship between culture, religion and psychology, in fact it studies the relationship among the religion, the Mafia sub-culture and the condition of women, in relation to current questions of international politics that witness strong connections between religion, mafia and terrorism, which are reciprocally involved in the dehumanizing traffic of women. It presents the first results of a field research study, which is still under way, by analysing one specific aspect, that inherent in emigrated and non-emigrated Albanian women’s representations of the man and the idea of the family and female social roles. The subjects were 32 Albanian women: 16 were resident in Italy and 16 in Albania. The women underwent a semi-structured interview in their mother-tongue; their answers underwent qualitative-quantitative content analysis (Analysis of Lexical Correspondences [ALC], with Spad-T programme). Substantial differences emerge between the women living in cities and those living in rural areas: the former do not emigrate and are aware of their social duties, combining working life perspectives with needs for affective realisation through the creation of a family. The latter, more easily compelled to emigration, see in the creation of a family under a male guide their main universe of realisation, in observance of the Kanun (the traditional normative code, which has now been nominally superseded by the current Albanian social laws).
Psychosexual disorders: From recognition to management – Brief Report K. Bhui, N. Warfa, A. Roberts, M. Mawgoud 182 – 185 The Saudi Psychiatric Association in collaboration with Dr Erfan and Bagedo Hospitals took an inspiring and courageous step to propose the title of ‘Psychosexual disorders from recognition to management’, for their 6th Annual Jeddah Symposium. Dr Erfan & Bagedo General Hospitals include a number of specialties other than psychiatry. Therefore the conference offered an opportunity for endocrinologists, paediatricians, neuropsychiatries, adolescent psychiatrist and gynecologists to come together. What was particularly thought provoking was that predominately Islamic society in Saudi Arabia would not previously have experienced an open symposium, be it medical or public, on this topic. The very nature of the subject matter required open and frank discussion about endocrinological, physiological, emotional and desirous aspects of human sexual behaviour. This necessarily would take place in the presence of men and women who were health and social care professionals, and who were also followers of the Islamic faith. Such a conference in Jeddah would be expected to attract the attention of the popular media, as perhaps it may be considered un-Islamic, even though it was essential for progress in health and social care. The Muslim academic speakers eloquently demonstrated how the conference aims and objectives were in fact entirely consistent with an Islamic world view.