Alter Possession: Some demons are better left unexorcised

The Exorcist Steps, a reenactment close-up

Image by voteprime via Flickr

Agnieszka Tennant | posted 9/03/2001 12:00AM

Any respectable exorcist has heard about—if not agonized over—dissociative identity disorder (DID), an illness that sometimes resembles demonization. Consequently, many “dissociatives” stumble into the offices of exorcists and spiritual warfare counselors, who, they insist, must do something about it.

…Psychologists explain the controversial disorder in four ways, says John E. Kelley, director of Biola Counseling Center in La Mirada, California:

1) DID results from a severe trauma, which usually takes place in childhood and often surfaces through controversial “recovered” memories. DID leads to fragmentation into at least two selves (one of whom is often an abused child). That is why survivors of alleged ritual abuse are often diagnosed with DID.

2) DID is a role-playing phenomenon that may or may not be based in a real-life trauma. “Dissociatives” play different roles because they are affirmed for doing so.

3) DID is faked by people who want attention.

4) DID is born in therapy. The disorder is brought on by therapists who use suggestion (intentional and unintentional) through which they end up convincing their patients that they have dissociated identities.

A Demon—or a Split Self?

…Deliverance ministers began to learn about DID from therapists in the 1970s. One of these therapists is Jerry Mungadze, head of a group of Christian clinicians in the Dallas area who treat severe cases of dissociation and ritual abuse.

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, Mungadze is no stranger to power encounters. He believes demons may harass people, but rarely. If someone exhibits symptoms of DID, suffered a trauma in childhood, shows no supernatural powers, and hasn’t made pacts with the Devil, there is no need for exorcism. A deliverance session may only “antagonize the created personas,” Mungadze says.

But DID and demonization aren’t mutually exclusive. By detaching a person from his or her personality, the disorder may open the door to demonic harassment. Even then the safer healing route is restoration of mental health, which gives the afflicted the strength to resist demonic attacks, Mungadze says.

… (See “Pandora’s Box of SRA,” p. 54.)

In counseling DID patients, Kelley became suspicious; it seemed that other therapists clearly had been suggesting fabrications to their clients. When he challenged some of them on it, at least one therapist began spreading rumors that he was a “dirty” doctor. A psychiatrist friend and a secretary confirmed that this therapist was accusing him of being a cult member.

Retrieved 11/06/11.

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2 Comments

  1. K

     /  12/23/2011

    Excuse my questioning, but by this article, do you indicate that you believe in demon posession, but not Dissociative Identity Disorder…? Because of the two, DID seems highly more likely to occur.

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    Reply
    • @K, No, I don’t believe in demon possession. I think they are both as likely to occur – that is, not at all.

      Although, taking your position, how would one know the difference?

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      Reply

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