Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 263–273 | Cite as

The possessive states disorder: The diagnosis of demonic possession

  • T. Craig Isaacs


This article addresses the validity of viewing demonic possession as a phenomenon distinct from any other form of pathology. It does so by briefly examining the historical relationship of demon possession and other forms of illness; reviewing some of the psychological research into the phenomena of possession; and then presenting a description of possession derived from a study of fourteen possessed individuals.

The article concludes that possessions do exist as a phenomena independent of the current commonly accepted forms of psychopathology. A diagnostic description of possession is then presented to enable a greater ability to differentiate cases of possession from the present categories of the DSM-III.


Psychological Research Cross Cultural Psychology Great Ability State Disorder Historical Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Craig Isaacs
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyBerkeley

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