Changes in behaviour and identity in people using exorcisms

Free consultations with healthcare professionals for people who feel their actions and thoughts are influenced by supernational forces, subsequently losing control over their body, speech, and thoughts.

The aim of this project is to explore the experiences and symptoms of the sudden changes in behaviour and identity in exorcised individuals: how these experiences affect their everyday life and relationships, how people make meaning of these experiences, what kind of psychological conflicts or traumatising events they had, how much they can control their 'seizures' and remember what happened during the rituals. The aim of this study is not to determine whether participants are or are not affected by spiritual forces in theological sense, because this is beyond clinical or scientific investigation. This project contributes to developing co-operation between healthcare providers and clergy, by aiding referral for clinical consultations and developing understanding about the spiritual needs and conflicts in religiously involved patients.

The project is carried out in collaboration with Polish priests. This gives an opportunity for comprehensive treatment and healing, combining religious coping strategies (e.g., prayer with a spiritual guide) with methods developed by modern psychology and medicine. Individuals from countries outside Poland who are interested to enrol, are requested to contact the Principal Investigator: Prof. Igor Pietkiewicz.

Pietkiewicz, I. J., & Lecoq-Bamboche, M. (2017). Exorcism leads to reenactment of trauma in a Mauritian woman. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 26(8), 970-992.
Pietkiewicz, I. J., Lecoq-Bamboche, M., & Van der Hart, O. (2020). Cultural pathoplasticity in a Mauritian woman with possession-form presentation: Is it dissociative or not?. European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 4(2), 100131.
Pietkiewicz, I. J., Kłosińska, U., Tomalski, R., & Van der Hart, O. (2021). Beyond dissociative disorders: a qualitative study of Polish catholic women reporting demonic possession. European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 5(4), 100204.
Pietkiewicz, I. J., Kłosińska, U., & Tomalski, R. (2021). Delusions of Possession and Religious Coping in Schizophrenia: A Qualitative Study of Four Cases. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 842.
Pietkiewicz, I. J., Kłosińska, U., & Tomalski, R. (2022). Polish Catholics attribute trauma-related symptoms to possession: qualitative analysis of two childhood sexual abuse survivors. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.
Pietkiewicz, I. J., Kłosińska, U., & Tomalski, R. (2022). Trapped between theological and medical notions of possession: A case of possession trance disorder with a three-year follow-up. Frontiers in Psychiatry.