This paper reviews the nosological systems in the field of psychology, comparing the classic medical model with a developmental approach to psychopathology and wellbeing. The argument is made that a developmental model offers greater refinement for distinguishing phenomenologically similar experiential states. Due to their substantial overt resemblance, a contrast between spiritual emergencies and pathological psychotic reactions is presented as an example. To make this comparison, the nature and etiology of psychotic disorders is reviewed, underscoring their developmental, as opposed to spontaneous, origins. This is followed by a brief overview of spirituality and its place in psychological wellbeing and development. Finally, the concept of spiritual emergency is presented, followed by a discussion of how a holistic, developmental understanding of psychological disorder and wellbeing can aid clinicians in differentiating psychotic experiences indicative of psychopathology from spiritual emergencies.
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St. Arnaud, K., & Cormier, D. (2017). Psychosis or spiritual emergency: The potential of developmental psychopathology for differential diagnosis. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 36 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2017.36.2.44