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 


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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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