Grandiose perspectives on extrasensory experiences typically develop due to one or several of the following: (1) misconceptions regarding the prevalence of such experiences in the general population, (2) confounding experiences with “ability,” or experiences with expertise, (3) irrational social enabling and support, and (4) magical thinking and religiosity with or without onset due to a single psychotic experience.
Due to Prevalence Misconceptions
These cases typically occur when an individual with a history of extrasensory experiences does not seem to have a family history of similar experiences, and is involved in a social group that also does not seem to have a history of similar experiences. In these cases, the individual may misconstrue their extrasensory experiences as rare. However, extrasensory experiences have been found to be common in the general population (Ross & Joshi, 1992), (Dein, 2012), (Landolt et al, 2014).
Due to Confounding Experience with Expertise
These cases typically occur around the time of extrasensory onset, when one or several experiences occur more vividly, or when a single fulfillment is highly and positive impactful (e.g. winning the lottery or “curing” an ailment in another). Due to one or more of these occurrences, the individual may convince themselves that their experience is a sign of a “calling.” Calling cases are often interpreted by experients as a predestined and mandatory requirement to “quit their day job” and become a professional psychic or healer. If social or religious influences are present, the experient may feel pressured or compelled to change careers and base their decisions purely on hope and faith alone.
Due to Irrational Social Enabling and Support
These cases typically occur when an experient surrounds his or herself with a group of people that have grandiose perspectives on extrasensory experiences and in which have had little to no professional instruction or training on such topics. There appears to be two main types that typically fall victim to irrational enabling and support:
- (1) Experients lacking in experience, information, and instruction in the mystical, metaphysical, parapsychological, paraphysical, and related sciences (e.g. most common: Telepathic Cognitives, Clairvoyant Interactors).
- (2) Experients that may already have an inflated idea of their own importance and the importance of there “gift” and “mission” (e.g. most common: Telepathic Impressionists, Clairvoyant Simulators).
- Or a combination between these two types (e.g. less common: Telepathic Simulators, Clairvoyant Cognitives, Empathic Cognitives, Empathic Simulators).
In these cases, the grandiosity of the group influences the individual in such a way that the individual begins to develop a false sense of empowerment and self-importance. This process may begin with undue flattery and praise due to the groups admiration or envy of the individual’s “abilities,” and/or as a way for the group to psychologically manipulate the individual into reciprocating flattery and praise as a means to perpetuate and seek approval and support for their own irrational beliefs. Because of the social supportive element in these cases, perspectives can not only reach a heightened level of inflation, but may also become highly delusional and potentially dangerous.
Due to Magical Thinking and Religiosity
These cases typically occur in individuals with strong religious or spiritual backgrounds (Christian, Pagan, etc.). Onset may be due to a single psychotic experience, but the experience may involve genuine extrasensory information.
In this case, the individual will likely misinterpret the information and insight obtained; and therefore, will not be able to properly integrate their experience into their personal narrative.
These cases can also occur when the individual is subject to other various influences for grandiose perspectives as aforementioned, and where their own or another religion has supported similar occurrences in history.
Examples or Forms
|God Complex: The individual believes they know all and see all. The individual believes they are the incarnation of God.||Clairvoyance:The individual has the potential to know and see many things he or she once could not.|
|Prophetic Complex: The individual believes they are the reincarnation of a prophet of God, that they have been handpicked by God to prophesize future events or the end of days, or that they have been handpicked by God to save the world or unite the peoples of the world under one God.||Clairvoyance: The individual is one of many individuals in the world with precognitive, postcognitive, and remote viewing experiences. They may misinterpret premonitions in regard to the death of their non-spiritual life as the “end of days,” and/or misinterpret premonitions in regard to the birth of their spiritual life as “discovering that they are the reincarnation of a spiritual or religious prophet or other prominent figure.”|
“The valid religious/spiritual dimensions of the experiences can be salvaged though psychotherapy” (Lukoff, 2000).
“Recovery means recovering the divine from within the disorder, seeing that its contents are authentically religious” (Hillman, 1986).
Dein, S. (2012). Mental Health and the Paranormal. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 31(1), 61-74.
Hillman, J. (1986). On culture and chronic disorder. In Sardello, R. & Thomas, G. (Eds.), Stirrings of Culture. Dallas: The Dallas Institute Publications.
Landolt, K., Wittwer, A., Wyss, T., Unterassner, L., Fach, W., Krummenacher, P., & Rossler, W. (2014). Help-seeking in people with exceptional experiences: results from a general population sample. Front Public Health, 2, 51.
Lukoff, D. (2000). DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems. Coursebook. Retrieved from: (www.experiencers.com)
Ross, C.A., Joshi, S. (1992). Paranormal experiences in the general population. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 180, 357-361.
Citation: Kelly, T.M. (2015). Clinical Parapsychology: Extrasensory Exceptional Experiences (Textbook). University of Alternative Studies. Purchase.
Copyright © 2015 Theresa M. Kelly, MsD. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.