Can someone be completely healed from a long-held addiction or compulsive disorder in a matter of seconds by a sudden emotional cathartic experience?
My question is motivated by two conversion testimonies which I don't know how to explain from a psychological point of view and therefore I believe they will be interesting case studies.
This testimony has many details, but I want to focus here on the eating disorder aspect of it (from 15:47 to 23:34), and the experience this girl had that made her free in a matter of seconds. This girl had been suffering from bulimia and anorexia for 4 years and had not been able to defeat her eating disorders no matter how hard she had tried. According to her testimony, in December of 2017 she was in the bathroom throwing up in the bathtub, and while she was doing this she felt very impotent and hopeless, which made her enter into a state of despair. In this state she says she cried out in her mind the word "Jesus" and immediately, in a matter of seconds, a feeling of immense love and peace came over her, her sadness was gone, but most astonishingly, her 4 year bondage to bulimia and anorexia was immediately gone. According to her testimony, this experience happened 2 years prior to the recording of the video, and ever since she has never relapsed or even had the desire to.
She spends quite a while in the video describing her bathroom experience and uses an interesting analogy: she says she has a 5 year old son for whom she feels a deep maternal love, specially when they hug each other. Then she proceeds to say that the feeling of love that came over here in the bathroom surpassed that.
I find this testimony impressive. There are 2 aspects about this testimony which intrigue me a lot:
- She experiences an emotional transition from deep despair to immense peace and love in just seconds. How is this possible?
- Not only that, but also as a result of this experience she was completely healed from bulimia and anorexia (despite suffering these eating disorders for 4 years straight and numerous failed attempts to stop them up to that point).
This testimony describes a somewhat similar experience to the first one. In short: a woman tells that for decades she used to deal with severe depression, strong anger and hatred issues, porn addiction, stealing addiction (compulsive stealing). She also used to be a lesbian, and for many years experienced sleep paralysis at night and felt "evil presences" during these episodes. According to her testimony, one night she had a very intense "attack" during a sleep paralysis. In similar fashion to the previous testimony, she cried out "Jesus save me" a couple times, she broke down emotionally and cried for 1 hour, and afterwards she began to experience a sudden deliverance from all her addictions and mental health issues, without ever relapsing again. This experience is described from 27:37 to 33:41 in the video. But there is more. In 42:41 she tells that she changed so dramatically that she didn't even realize but after 3 months that her attraction to women was also gone, she was not a lesbian anymore.
I find this second testimony incredible. She had an intense sleep paralysis "attack", then she cried for 1 hour and afterwards all her addictions and mental health issues were complete gone. I just don't understand what's going on here.
So, I'm really intrigued to know a psychological explanation for these testimonies. I imagine that if we could learn how to tap into the power of our minds to suddenly turn our emotions into peace and love (like in the first testimony) or experience a strong emotional catharsis (like in the second testimony) to free ourselves from years of addictions and unhealthy compulsive disorders in a matter of seconds, that would just revolutionize therapy and addiction recovery programs.
So, what is really going on psychologically in these testimonies? Do these experiences have a name? How is it possible for a person to suddenly be free from years of addiction or compulsive habits or mental health issues in a matter of seconds, without therapy? Whatever is going on behind the scenes, can we tap into this to enhance addiction recovery programs?
Thanks in advance.