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Free Church Pastors in Germany – Perceptions of Spirit Possession and Mental Illness

Michael Grossklaus

This book focuses on Free Church pastors in Germany and their perceptions of spirit possession and mental illness. To explore Free Church pastors’ understanding of spirit possession and mental illness is critical in light of the overlap of symptoms. Misdiagnosis may result in a client receiving treatment that may not be appropriate. Interviews with Free Church pastors were conducted. The results were analysed and four themes were identified. Based on these interviews conclusions could be drawn which ultimately made it clear that the German free church pastors’ theological training needs to be supplemented in the area of psychology and that the pastors are unable to cope in the area of «spirit possession or mental illness».

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Firstly I would like to thank the one without whom I would neither exist nor would have been able to write this thesis: Jesus Christ. Thank you for everything you have done for me and may this work and the associated results serve to appropriately help people who are in spiritual and mental need.

Thank you to everyone who has accompanied me along the way, to those who have lent me their support emotionally, professionally and financially. To those who encouraged me to keep going and to those who had to do without me because this work was on my heart. My wife Kerstin and my children Lea (14), Laura (11) and David (9) were especially affected. Even though it was not always easy for you – many thanks!

Thank you as well to my church who made it possible for me to write this research paper while still carrying out my diverse ministries. May God continue to richly bless the “Gnadenkirche” in Villingen, you are wonderful brothers and sisters.

I would also like to sincerely thank Dr. Yaseen Ally, my supervisor. His optimism encouraged me time and again to keep going and even though we could never personally shake hands, I would never have accomplished this without your help Yaseen. My wish for you is that you can guide many more students to a successful graduation – thank you!

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