This section seeks to suggest options to alleviate distressing extrasensory experiences including; from seeking particular professional therapeutic options — to self-administered relaxation techniques.
The current concepts of therapy and counseling for people with unusual experiences are based upon phenomenological ratings, single case studies and clinical expertise. So far studies which ask for detailed documentation and diagnostics as a basis for the therapeutic process of decision making and planning are missing. Moreover the concepts of therapeutic practice are vague and pragmatic. ” – Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health
Many individuals who have had extrasensory experiences are able to integrate the experiences into their personal story and belief system without the guidance and assistance from clinicians.
However, many individuals do indeed seek out clinicians for assistance in understanding and coping with extrasensory experiences.
Clinical parapsychological counseling should focus on assisting the individual in balance, integration, and judgment in relation to the apparent or genuine parapsychological experience (Hastings, 1983).
Psychotherapy can assist individuals with extrasensory experiences to shape and structure their experiences into a “coherent narrative, to see the “message” contained in their experiences, and to create a life-affirming personal [story] that integrates such experiences (Lukoff, 2000).
Psychotherapy and Psi
One psychotherapeutic approach that has been found very useful in a more detailed understanding of the dynamics involved in the psychological functioning of individuals reporting extrasensory experiences is through the method of plan analysis. In other words, this approach addresses the individuals experiences in a phenomenological manner first (i.e. the behavior of the extrasensory phenomena), followed by connecting such experiences to the individuals personal story (i.e. biography, life situation, and general needs and motives) prior to determining the course of evaluation and categorization.
Normalizing the Experience
The dramatic and often mystical nature of extrasensory experiences often acts as an obstacle to the process of integrating the experience into the individual’s self-concept and for clinicians not trained in spiritual or religious-based counseling (IGPP, 2007). Because of this, it has been recommended that the mystical nature of the experience be reduced through providing information based on scientific research. These stories typically emphasize the psychopathological symptoms rather than display content in regard to their conscious and subconscious needs, capacities, or circumstances/environment. Because of this, it has been recommended that the dramatic nature of the experience be reduced through (1) correcting phenomenological errors in the individual’s personal story, and through (2) determining if the dramatic nature of the experience was due to psychopathological symptoms increasing the severity of the extrasensory experience, and determining the proper course of treatment based on that determination.
Sharing and Support
If the individual seeks out the clinician to share their extrasensory experiences that are perceived by the experient as positive or neutral in valance, the individual will typically be looking to fulfill a need to share their experiences and are looking for some form of reassurance and/or acceptance.
If the individual seeks out the clinician to share their extrasensory experiences that are perceived by the experient as negative in valance, the individual will typically be looking to fulfill a need to understand their experiences to assist in integration. A process-orientated understanding requires a two-way interaction between the clinician and the individual. This allows the responsibility for making the individual’s experiences understandable, to themselves and to others, to be placed on both parties rather than exclusively on the individual or the clinician. The clinician is encouraged to educate the individual about extrasensory processes as a part of a journey with a potentially positive outcome that assists in unveiling the reasons for and the meanings behind their extrasensory experiences.
Hastings, A. (1983). A counseling approach to parapsychological experience. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 15(2), 143-167.
IGPP. (2007). Counseling and Therapeutic Concepts. (http://www.igpp.de).
Lukoff, D. (2000). DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems. Coursebook. Retrieved from: (www.experiencers.com)
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.