Can Existential Issues Really Be Divorced From Clinical Practice? From Our Readers


Although existential and religious issues may be distinguished in clinical care, the human condition’s complexity and the Dark Night of the Soul cannot.



Well done, Dr Ronald Pies. Your article “Psychiatry and the Dark Night of the Soul” reminds us of the human condition’s complexity, which should never be separated from our clinical work. We may distinguish clinical problems from existential and religious issues, but we must use great caution before we separate attributes that are inextricably linked.

Dr Manning is a family physician in High Point, North Carolina.

I read “The Dark Night of the Soul” long before I trained as a therapist. Recently I came across 2 cases of ladies in their mid-30s. Each of them presented with profound feelings of existential anxiety. My hypothesis and diagnosis was that they were going through the first stage of the dark night of the soul (ie, purgation). I feel that my assessment is validated by your article.

Mr Gitau is a psychotherapist at the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) in Kiambu, Kenya. He holds a B.Psy. in counseling from the University of Nairobi.

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