Care for the Immaterial: Aggressors, Supernatural Beings, Spirits and the Dead
Workshop with Thomas Wenzel
Modern psychiatry shows two characteristics. First, it relies on the distinction between emotion and thoughts: emotions refer to subjectivity, to the hidden part of the individual. By contrast, thoughts can be compared, evaluated and circulated easily between persons. Emotions refer to nature whilst thinking refers to culture. The second characteristic, incarnated in occidental medicine and psychology, shows the tendency to go beyond words, to approach the inner world of unconscious and unexpressed experiences, the world of the brain and its neuronal circuits. It presupposes a hidden frame of reference. Modern psychiatry, be it inspired psychoanalytically or biologically, self-evidently considers the existence of this interiority as the origin of troubles that a patient might encounter. Treatment offers are systematically interlinked with this mental or biological interiority.
There are indications that more and more patients refuse to have their problems interpreted in terms of this mental interiority. They face an exteriority, environments, force fields, that are populated by aggressors, supernatural beings, spirits, the dead, that make them search for treatment options that frame their problem or illness not merely within the interiority framework.
In the workshop with Thomas Wenzel we shall catch a glimpse on how this inter- or transcultural mixture of nosologies and treatments comes along with the necessity to develop transcultural competencies within modern psychiatry.
Univ. Prof. Thomas Wenzel is an expert for transcultural psychiatry at the Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna.