13th-19th May 2019 is Mental Health Awareness Week
Here are a few things I have been doing.
If you have any thoughts or comments I would love to hear your feedback!
You can contact me by email, by the contact form on my website, or using the feedback forms at the bottom of my individual webpages.
To support people concerned about, or distressed by, anomalous, religious, or spiritual experiences by:
Social context of anomalous experiences in a spiritual support-seeking population
This study, by Charlie Heriot-Maitland, aims to explore relationships between social factors and anomalous experiences, like changes in perception, spiritual-type experiences, hearing voices, or extrasensory communications.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY?
Many people describe having anomalous experiences. For some these experiences have a negative impact on their life and result in input from mental health services. For others, these experiences have a positive impact and can be life-enriching. This research aims to explore the protective social factors that might enable people to integrate their experiences in a helpful way. We would like to recruit people who have recently accessed a support network for spiritual crisis/emergence. For this study, it is not important how you describe or explain your own experiences, but if you have look for support through a spiritual network, then we would love to hear from you.
WHAT IS INVOLVED?
Taking part will involve meeting with the researcher, either in person or via Skype, to discuss your experiences. This will last about 1 hour, including a short interview about your experiences and some questionnaires about, e.g., how you see yourself in relation to others. We are able to offer you £15 remuneration for your time. If you are eligible to also participate in the online follow-up part of the study, we will be able to offer you a further £10 for each assessment point, so a maximum of £35 for all three assessment points (0, 3, and 6 months).
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
A new research project at the Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Lampeter.
The aim of this project is to understand the place of spirituality within a therapeutic (medical) context. In the first stage we asked psychologists, psychotherapists and others about their understanding of the role of spirituality in their work place. In this second stage we want to ask people active in religious communities about their understanding. The essential question we are asking is how important spirituality (or religion) is for developing a sense of wellbeing.
Click here to take part in the research survey.
Thank you very much for your participation.
Prof Bettina Schmidt, Director of the Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
An update from the Religious Experience Research Centre (UWTSD, Lampeter):
"The Religious Experience Research Centre has launched a new project about the place of spirituality within therapy in the UK and Brazil. Our aim is to understand the place of spirituality within a therapeutic context. We want to examine the role of spirituality within psychotherapy, counselling and other medical contexts as well as the understanding of spirituality among therapists.
We have prepared two online surveys with a series of questions asking about experiences with spirituality in the therapeutic context, one in English and one in Portuguese. The essential question is how important spirituality (or religion) is in the work place, either as therapist or counsellor or as student of psychology.
We would appreciate if you could spare some time answering the online survey:
In English: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3130382/New-Survey
In Portuguese: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3130430/Espiritualidade-e-Saude-Pesquisa
We will treat all information confidential and anonymise all information given to us.
Prof Bettina Schmidt, Director of the Religious Experience Research Centre.
Rev Dr Jeff Leonardi, Research Fellow at the Religious Experience Research Centre.
Dr Everton Maraldi, Researcher at the Institute of Psychology, Universidade de São Paulo."
The RERC (UWTSD) website can be found at: http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/library/alister-hardy-religious-experience-research-centre/
An update from the Stanislav & Christina Grof Foundation:
'Many people have dreamed for years of bringing Stan Grof’s ideas and stories to life … using film, video, and animation.
The idea was to capture Stan’s stories of psychedelic experience, his radical theories about consciousness, and his anecdotes about the birth of transpersonal psychology -- preserving these, and even illustrating them, for future generations.
Filmmaker Susan Hess Logeais has been doing preparatory work for two years to create a documentary, Journey of Consciousness, about Stan’s work.
But Journey of Consciousness is much more than a documentary.
This project will also generate short, high quality videos of Stan speaking directly about his ideas and experiences. Creatively animated and illustrated, these will be the perfect resources to publicize his ideas in many media for years to come.
To give you an immediate sense of what’s possible, here is a link to a rough cut version of Stan describing his first psychedelic experience.
At 85, Stan is still active and vital. As many members of the original transpersonal and psychedelic communities are no longer with us, now is the time to move forward with this project to benefit from Stan's personal involvement.
Remember that Journey of Consciousness is much more than just a film honoring Stan.
Journey of Consciousness will make archival footage available and also generate new, quality videos that will help people get life-changing information, support, and inspiration.
We hope that you will join us in taking this huge step to bring Stan’s work to a much wider world, and to see his unique insights reach the greater public -- in this dynamic, creative way -- at long last.
THE GROF FOUNDATION'
You can find out more and make a donation to the project at https://groffoundation.org/journey-of-consciousness-letter/
www.talkaboutspiritualcrisis.uk has now been updated with a couple of new features:
An events page shows a calendar view of upcoming events and conferences related to spiritual crisis, transpersonal psychology, and clinical parapsychology. Events will be added throughout 2017.
People To Talk To
This page contains contact details for a few 'spirituality-friendly' therapists working in the U.K. I will add more as I get to know about them. Also, included is a list of online therapist directories where you can search for therapists meeting your requirements.
If you have any questions or comments, or want to talk about a spiritual experience that has caused you concern or distress, please get in touch.
Last year I had an article published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies that critiqued one particular NDE case-study by Dr Penny Sartori. I want to explain why I wrote the critique.
It was originally written as an essay for my PGDip in Consciousness & Transpersonal Psychology a few years ago. I had to select and critique a published journal article. I can't remember why I chose Penny's paper, I think I just happened to have read it recently and recalled that I didn't agree with all of the conclusions.
Later I decided to expand the original essay into an article for publication because it gave me the opportunity to explore alternative psychological explanations for NDEs that I had not had chance to do previously. I sometimes get asked why I am agnostic about life-after-death (and various other anomalous phenomena) when I am so interested in them. This was my opportunity to explain why. It was also a turning point for me in that my interest now lies less in the evidential value and more in the personal value of such experiences.
Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be: A Journey of Discovery, Snow and Jazz in the Soul, Robert K.C. Forman, Alresford, O-Books, 2011, pp. 214. ISBN 978-1-84694-674-5 (Paperback). £9.99.
Dr. Robert Forman is co-founder of the Journal of
Consciousness Studies and founder of the Forge Institute for Spirituality and Social Change. He has many years experience of meditation and academic work in religion and mysticism. His stance on
the latter led to the ‘Katz-Forman debates’ regarding Perennialism versus Constructivism. He gives lectures and workshops globally and has written numerous books including The Problem of Pure Consciousness, Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness, and Grassroots Spirituality: What it is, Why it is here, Where it is Going.
The first thing that should be said about this book is that, in contrast to most of Forman’s other work, it is not an academic text. Instead Forman has chosen to write a personal, auto-biographical account of his own spiritual journey, which is accessible to non-academics. Although he mentions the so-called ‘Katz-Forman debates’ he does not get side-tracked into putting forward an academic argument about his views on what he terms ‘pure consciousness events’. Leaving aside this debate Forman emphasises some important, and possibly controversial, points about ‘enlightenment’.
Having gone through his own process of spiritual awakening, he is in a position to be able to do this from a first-hand perspective.
OK - my goal is to provide a counselling and advice service for people who are curious about or distressed by anomalous, religious, or spiritual experiences. However, there are quite a few things to do and quite a few questions to answer to reach that goal (if I ever do!)
Firstly, I need a good grounding in counselling and psychotherapy skills that are relevant to this, somewhat specialist (should I say 'fringe?), area.
Secondly, I need to know what demand there actually is for such a service (if any!)
This blog is, therefore, my way of tracking my progress towards this goal. I'm really not sure who reads blogs but perhaps someone will find it interesting or relevant. Who knows?
Progress to-date: about 20 years experience in listening to people's religious, spiritual, and anomalous experiences; post-grad academic qualifications; and currently training in hypno-psychotherapy with the National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy.
Further updates to follow...