Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Tamar Hadar


Spiritual emergencies are psychospiritual crises which often induce dramatic shifts in perception, emotional states, cognition, and social functioning. There is a significant lack of awareness of spiritual emergencies in the mental health profession, which contributes to mistreatment of individuals experiencing spiritual emergencies. Many symptoms appear similar to those of psychosis and are frequently misdiagnosed as such. Modern psychiatry aims to suppress and control symptoms of psychosis. This can be damaging to the recovery of someone experiencing a spiritual emergency. Spiritual emergencies are seen as a natural stage of development with immense positive potential for healing and growth. This literature review is an analysis of the concept of spiritual emergencies, including assessment, treatment and differentiation from psychosis. Art, which is a valuable resource for treating spiritual emergency, is a major focus of this thesis. While there is little published research into art therapy as a treatment for spiritual emergency, there is a growing evidence base for art therapy as a treatment for psychosis. This paper examines that evidence and reflects on how it applies to the treatment of spiritual emergencies. I will also share art I made during my own spiritual emergency and discuss how it enabled my recovery.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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