Saturday, 17th March 2012Seminar Thursday 15th March 2012:
Judeo-Christian Religious Experience and Psychopathology: The Legacy of William James
Professor Simon Dein, Honorary Clinical Professor, School for Medicine and Health
This seminar was held on Thursday 15th March. Dr Pauline Watson attended the seminar and offers the following reflections:
On 15 March, Professor Simon Dein led a seminar on Judeo-Christian Experience and Psychopathology. Professor Dein is a psychiatrist and anthropologist, who works as a liaison psychiatrist and honorary consultant in palliative care in a hospice. He is currently researching the phenomenology of religious experience, particularly the frequency with which people hear the ‘voice of God’ as a part of their experience. In his research, this was reported more commonly than might be imagined. He is interested in the possible meaning and source of such experiences. He made reference to William James’s work which he felt still shed helpful light on conversion and other religious experience.
Professor Dein’s talk was very interesting and stimulating. It was made vivid by the use of clinical examples from his research. It looked at an area of experience which many psychiatrists would be sceptical about and would rather avoid. His lecture led not only to a good theoretical debate but also to a discussion of some enlightening personal experiences.