Or1254 Patients’ Supernatural Experiences; Do Patients Report To General Practitioners?

Paula Vainiomäki1, Pieta Sundqvist2 e Marja-Liisa Honkasalo3
1University of Turku/University Hospital of Turku; 2University of Turku, general practice; 3University of Turku, Culture and Health
According to some preliminary studies, it has been estimated that around 10 % of population have experiences that could be classified supernatural. Studies show that people report difficulties, such as being misunderstood or even stigmatized if they try to report these experiences to their physicians. We conducted a pilot study among trainees and trainers participating in specialist programme of general practice/family medicine at the University of Turku, Finland, to study the general practitioners’ (GPs’) recollection about supernatural experiences their patients have expressed. An electronic questionnaire was sent to 228 qualified doctors working in primary health care and one third of them were trainers. The questionnaire dealt with supernatural and religious experiences of patients. Response rate was 40 % (91 responses). The results of the closed questions are shown in percentages. Open questions were analysed with qualitative methods. More than half of the respondents remembered their patients told about their seemingly unreal visions or dreams. Often patients expressed to have seen their late close ones. Frequently these experiences were positive to them. Only one third of the doctors remembered their patients told about negative, such as threatening or anxiety producing experiences, ghosts or evil demons. The religious experiences were distributed similarly into positive and negative experiences. Over 80 % of GPs answered they had treated these patients mainly by listening and one third also by asking them to revisit to tell more and give the GP a possibility to analyse the situation more closely. Most of the GPs expressed they respect patients’ religious experiences. Patients report their supernatural experiences at least to their GPs. Most GPs seem to respect their patients. Even though the experiences are classified supernatural they are important to the patients and thus, consequently, to the GPs to listen as a part of the patients’ story. Patient-centred approach emphasises patients’ experiences, worries and beliefs. This pilot study cannot be generalized to all doctors or to all GPs, but it may reflect new directions in understanding the patients in a more holistic way.
patient-centred approach; supernatural experiences